GM in waiting? Yzerman going nowhere ... for now

October, 28, 2008
Steve Yzerman will likely make the jump to NHL general manager one day. But that day won't come any day soon.

The moment Yzerman accepted the job of executive director of Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics, the Detroit Red Wings vice president essentially ended any chance of taking the next step in his NHL management career in the next 16 months.

"Yes, that's true," Yzerman told "First of all, part of the reason I was given the responsibilities of the Olympic team is that I have a little bit more flexibility, a lot more flexibility really, than a general manager of an NHL team. I talked with [Hockey Canada president] Bob Nicholson about it, and one thing that was real important was having whoever was running the Olympic program to really have the ability to focus on it and be flexible in his schedule.

"So, I think it would be unfair to them if I all of sudden changed now and told them I was moving on to something else, as well. Bob could have gone out and got one of several current GMs to be in charge if that were the case."

We bring this matter to your attention, fellow puckheads, because if Bryan Murray's GM job should ever come under fire with the Senators -- and we certainly hope it doesn't -- I guarantee you Yzerman's name would be at the forefront of the Ottawa media's wish list. Given that Yzerman is an Ottawa native, a GM in waiting and, not to mention, one of the game's greatest players ever.

But, for now, all other NHL teams will have to take a rain check.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me with the Olympic program," said Yzerman, an Olympic gold medalist in 2002. "For me, if I were to go into another [NHL] situation as a first-time [GM], there's a lot going on, and I know it's not the right thing to do."

Besides, Yzerman said he's totally happy working for the Red Wings right now, the only NHL team he has ever played for. So, it's not a guarantee he would jump ship for a GM job.

"At some point here in Detroit, we'll sit down and talk about my future," said Yzerman. "Because I would like to spend my entire time in the Detroit organization and that doesn't necessarily mean sitting around to be the general manager. We really haven't talked about it as an organization, in terms of the future.

"I love working for the Red Wings. I'm not out there actively pursuing other jobs."

As Yzerman always points out, the Wings have a heck of GM in Ken Holland, and a great assistant GM in Jim Nill. He's learning a ton from them.

"I like working with Kenny and Jim," said Yzerman. "Detroit's my home. I like it here. But I guess I would stop short of saying I would never leave for another opportunity."

Quick take on Minnesota Wild
Look no further than special teams to explain Minnesota's surprise 6-0-1 start. The Wild have the fourth-ranked power play in the NHL, humming along at a 25 percent clip. It gets better. They have killed off all 22 opposing man advantages this season, standing alone with their ridiculous 100 percent score. That's a Jacques Lemaire team.


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