DETROIT – Steve Yzerman is home.
In fact, he's apparently been home for months working on finalizing his new position as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. Here we are a day after Chris Ilitch and Ken Holland introduced Yzerman as the organization's newest GM, and it still feels kind of surreal for Red Wings fans.
The Yzerman thing really happened— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) April 20, 2019
Despite the non-stop rumors of Yzerman's return to the Red Wings, from the outside looking in it still seemed like it could have been a long shot for the franchise. Yzerman is one of the most talented general manager's in the game right now, known for his expertise with Team Canada and then especially for his rebuilding of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise into one of the most powerful in the league. He has impressed with his aggressive and, possibly downright cunning, ability to make deals in the NHL, and his ability to find gems later in the draft.
Yzerman would have had his pick of teams this offseason, but he chose to come home to be with his family. He chose the Red Wings, who first chose him more than 30 years ago. Who would have guessed that Detroit's 4th overall draft pick in 1983 not only would become one of the franchise's most iconic players, but also a star general manager who would return home to help rebuild the team a decade after leaving?
It's definitely the plot for a Disney film. Yzerman is now expected to lead this Red Wings team back to the glory it once had when he was playing. While he's praised for his return to Hockeytown, Yzerman knows this will be perhaps the biggest challenge in his general managing career to date.
"There's a lot of work to be done," he said during his introduction news conference. "This organization and this fan base, as you all know, is used to winning and being successful. We've got a lot of work to do, and depending on your age, you know that this takes time. We've been through this before. It's up and down for an organization. It takes time, and I caution everyone and temper the excitement that this is going to take time."
The bar is set very high for Yzerman, who is decorated with awards in the international game of hockey. Yet, for all his accomplishments he still seeks a Stanley Cup win as general manager. He will he determined to do this in Detroit, where the expectation will be nothing less.