Yzerman as GM a terrible idea
The word that Steve Yzerman was stepping down as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning had barely been announced when the Hockeytown hyperbole ramped up into a frenzy.
Stevie Y is coming home.
Actually, as a matter of fact, he is. Yzerman wants to spend more time with his family in the Detroit suburbs.
He’ll serve as a senior advisor for the Lightning and a year from now, his contract with the team will be done.
Then Yzerman will be free to take over the Detroit Red Wings’ front office.
Let’s hope not, because no good can come from Yzerman serving in this role.
He was the star of the show from the moment he arrived in Detroit back in 1983, which is exactly why Yzerman going somewhere else to run his own show made the most sense.
On paper, putting the living legend in charge of the club where he built that legend makes perfect sense.
In reality, it rarely plays out that way.
Going with the local hero as boss usually doesn't go so well.
History shows us how quickly legends can struggle when they go from starring on the front line to working in the front office.
Green Bay Packers fans - remember Bart Starr, quarterback?
How could you forget?
Remember Bart Starr, coach?
That one you wish you could forget.
Earvin Johnson lost the Magic as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Locally, it hasn't gone well, either. Joe Dumars started out spectacularly as GM of the Detroit Pistons, but then the engine sputtered. As manager of the Detroit Tigers, Alan Trammell proved that Leo Durocher's long-held baseball philosophy was correct - nice guys do finish last. Trammell isn’t in the Hall of Fame for his managerial work.
Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio, among the greatest Red Wings of all time, weren't able to find similar success as coach or GM of the team. All were fired while Detroit struggled dismally.
Wings fans must ask themselves one question? Would this be the way they would want to remember Yzerman?
The GM can't pick up the puck in a tie game and score a memorable goal. He can't be the hero.
Only the goat.
Perhaps Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch family best expressed the feelings of the Wings faithful as Yzerman left to be GM of the Lightning.
“It's hard to imagine Steve Yzerman in anything other than the red-and-white Winged Wheel,” the Ilitches said in a statement at the time.
“He has been synonymous with the Red Wings and Hockeytown for as long as most of us can remember.”
To run the Wings, Yzerman would risk more than the difference between winning and losing.
He’d risk his reputation.
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