Yzerman: Don't Expect Wings To Be Next Season's Blues
When he took over as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings amidst the sort of religious euphoria generally reserved for the naming of a new Pope, Steve Yzerman sought to bring that level of excitement down a few notches.
He cautioned about how far away the Wings are from contending status. He warned people not to put their expectations of an immediate turnaround into overdrive.
He cautioned that there remained much work to be down.
Not even two months into the job, Yzerman maintains the same mantra. Relax. It’s going to be a long, bumpy ride.
Yzerman was quick to put the kibosh on any attempts to suggest what just happened to the St. Louis Blues, going from last overall on Jan. 3 to a Stanley Cup title on Wednesday, could happen for the Wings during the 2019-20 NHL season.
“I don’t think they won the Stanley Cup on what they did in the last year,” Yzerman told Mlive.com. “It’s been what they’ve been doing for a long time.
“If you look at their roster, Alex Pietrangelo has been in the league 9-10 years. He was the third overall pick. (Vladimir) Tarasenko was drafted 10 years ago. Those are two of their best players. Jaden Schwartz was drafted 10 years ago.
“There’s been a lot of moves along the way, it’s taken time for them to get there. So, if you’re insinuating that they did this since Jan. 3, it’s been a long process. But Doug Armstrong did a fantastic job in the last 12-18 months.
“He’s made some critical decisions, make a couple trades, signed some free agents, made a coaching change. All those moves look outstanding today because all those moves were vital decisions that played a key part in them winning the Cup.
“It takes time.”
Time. There’s that word again. It comes up a lot in conversation with Yzerman. Time. Patience. Work to be done.
More work, it turns out, than there are hours in the day.
“It’s been very busy,” Yzerman said. “I find myself very busy every day. I’m not sure what exactly I’m accomplishing each day but it’s been busy.
“That’s how I feel at the end of every day.”
Yzerman’s message isn’t complicated. There are no quick fixes. There isn’t a player in the system, or who can be acquired via trade or free agency, that’s instantly going to change the game and put the Wings back on top.
It took Yzerman 13 years as a player to win a Stanley Cup. He’s been trying as a GM without success for eight years without success.
He knows how hard the task in front of him will be. He’s also realistic about how far away the Wings are from being in position to even think about making it happen.
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