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Wednesday May 26, 2010 1:09 am

Yzerman moving to Tampa




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Front Office, NHL,

Steve Yzerman & Jeff VinikThe Red Wing poster boy is swapping in his colors for Lightning silver. The announcement is somewhat surprising because since his retirement in 2006, many thought his appointment as VP of Hockey Operations with Detroit was to be apprentice to GM Ken Holland and would serve as a replacement. But it turns out that’s not the case. Yzerman is moving south and is ready to start the next chapter of his Hall of Fame career.

The move seems to be part-strategy, part-publicity on behalf of team owner Jeff Vinik. The Lightning need something to pull them together after struggling to sell tickets despite having one of the best young players in the game in Steven Stamkos. Also, Yzerman was responsible for putting together the Canadian gold medal hockey team in the Olympics. Yzerman is not only a celebrity GM, but he’s also really good.

The Lightning improved this year, but there’s a lot of work to be done still. They’re still not challenging for a playoff spot and have issues staying out of the penalty box. With Zenon Konopka and Steve Downie both over 200 minutes in the Sin Bin, there’s some concern when it comes to discipline. However, with a Rocket Richard Trophy winner in Steven Stamkos, there’s a piece right there that Yzerman has to build around.

Seeing Yzerman representing anybody other than Detroit is going to be strange for a little while. Seeing Yzerman representing the shattered Lightning franchise is just going to be strange. The move to hire him just in time to meet the scouting staff before the Draft Combine in Toronto is a good one. Yzerman, who has an eye for evaluating talent, will get a first-hand look at what could be the next piece to add to his new puzzle. He won gold after assembling a veteran roster, and there’s nothing to suggest he’ll be any less successful working with silver.

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