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The Malik Report

No Yzerman, no how for Red Wings-Leafs Winter Classic alumni game

Red Wings legend and Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman supposedly put his skates in his garage shortly after he retired, and hasn’t skated on that cartilage-free right knee since, so as I begin to delve into what’s going to be a late evening’s worth of work relating the MSM’s news from today’s Red Wings-Maple Leafs Winter Classic pressers, let’s get this out of the way: Yzerman does not plan on taking part in the alumni game, as he told MLive’s Ansar Khan...

“It will be a fantastic event with two great organizations at a storied venue. The perfect location and matchup, this is wonderful for the NHL. At this time, I don’t plan on participating in the alumni game but hope to watch the Outdoor Classic on TV.”

And the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy, who reports that Kris Draper—who just happens to be taking part in his first game as a member of the Wings’ Alumni Association this weekend in Muskegon—plans on at least attempting to convince Yzerman to lace up his skates for one more game:

Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman, nicknamed “The Captain,” said Thursday in a statement e-mailed to The Detroit News that he doesn’t expect to play in the alumni game, but still will pay plenty of attention to the Jan. 1 Winter Classic between the Red Wings at Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

“It will be a fantastic event with two great organizations at a storied venue,” Yzerman said of the Jan. 1 game. “The perfect location and matchup, this is wonderful for the NHL.

“At this time I don’t plan on participating in the alumni game but hope to watch the (Winter) Classic on TV.”

Earlier Thursday, Wings GM Ken Holland had expressed hope that Yzerman would participate: “Hopefully we’ll get him. I haven’t talked to him.”

Former Wing Kris Draper said he’s been recruiting Yzerman for the game.

“I’m working hard on him,” Draper said. “I guess we’ll see.”

Yzerman didn’t explain in the statement why he likely won’t play in the alumni game.

He hasn’t skated and he can’t run, literally, because of the way the osteotomy he underwent realigned his knee, so it’s going to be a hard sell to get the Captain to endure bone on bone pain again, even for the sake of nostalgia and representing the Winged Wheel one more time.

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Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

He won’t. That’s not Yzerman.

...unless he just magically appears.  smile

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 02/09/12 at 11:59 PM ET

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I almost want to cry.  Will still be worth flying home for however.

Posted by Matt from Vancouver on 02/09/12 at 11:59 PM ET

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I am so bummed that he won’t play but I completely understand.  However, Stevie can come here for the game.  Be an honorary assistant coach for the alumni game or something.  He should be HERE for the game, not watching on TV.

Posted by Nancy from Warren, MI on 02/10/12 at 01:04 AM ET

SYF's avatar

He hasn’t skated and he can’t run, literally, because of the way the osteotomy he underwent realigned his knee, so it’s going to be a hard sell to get the Captain to endure bone on bone pain again, even for the sake of nostalgia and representing the Winged Wheel one more time.

THIS.  Ten thousand times this.

As others have noted, however, he can still participate in other ways.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 02/10/12 at 01:57 AM ET

SK77's avatar

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman

Would it be considered bad form if he were to miss one or two Lightning games by attending the Winter Classic events?

Posted by SK77 on 02/10/12 at 02:29 AM ET

wingsinthezoo's avatar

George, how about a Captain To Hockeytown drive like we did for Herm? The ground swell of support over the next 11 months could convince Steve Yzerman that he can’t miss this oppertunity.

Posted by wingsinthezoo from In the Zoo when not in Maui on 02/10/12 at 02:57 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

For you guys, I’m hoping he plays.  It was such an experience seeing Lemieux back on the ice in the ‘Burgh last year.  Just…incredible.  Even at 1/2 or 1/4 speed.

I know Stevie’s knee is bad…maybe worse than Mario’s back is at this particular time, but man…I know how special it’d be for him to step back out onto the ice in (or at least near Detroit) one last time.  I get goosebumps just thinking about it…and I’m not even close to being a Wings fan.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 02/10/12 at 04:08 AM ET

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If true that he won’t skate then they’ll get him to coach the Alumni team.

But, I still think the words, “At this time,” weren’t just a slip of the tongue.

either way good reporting to clarify a medical issue that would prevent him from playing.

Posted by dca from formerly in Alexandria now back (point at right ha on 02/10/12 at 06:41 AM ET

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If Stevie put on a Wings jersey and skated around center ice at Comerica before the puck drop and didn’t play a shift, the crowd would still go ape. Not sure how that would sit with the Bolts or NHL higher-ups, but they at least have to recognize the unique-ness of the situation. I bet the NHL schedule-makers might even be persuaded to give TB a few games of rest around the Winter Classic so Stevie could attend, even if he doesn’t skate.

Posted by Steve from Zürich, Switzerland on 02/10/12 at 08:35 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I’m sure you could get all the fan support in the world and not change The Captains mind.
If he wants to, he will. If he doesn’t then he won’t.
We’ve got a Mule on the team now, but he can’t hold a candle to the stubborn determination of #19.
I’d LOVE to see it, but I doubt we will.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 02/10/12 at 11:02 AM ET

red_wings_49's avatar

Stevie… I love you.. I was there when the banner went up… and I was there when we dedicated a day to you…

Please… one last time… just lace them up and let the city of Detroit embrace you.  (and then we can talk about you taking over for when Holland exits….)

Anything for the Captain.

Posted by red_wings_49 from Mad Heights, MI on 02/10/12 at 12:13 PM ET

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He may not lace the skates, but I find it very hard to believe that he won’t be involved in some way or another.

Posted by RyanVM on 02/10/12 at 12:16 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I was there when the banner went up

Best $600 I ever spent was on that ticket.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 02/10/12 at 02:33 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

At this time, I don’t plan on participating

There is a lot of wiggle room and hope in that statement. I think he will play.

What about Shanny, Fetisov, Larionov, Federov and Brown-ov?

Given the generations long period of ineptitude by the Leafs, a wing in the alumni game ought to be automatic.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/10/12 at 06:28 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Y’know, Steve has given so much time, effort, and life to the Red Wings that I have no problem if he decides to stay off the ice. I’d be fine seeing him as the coach, or even the guest of honor if possible.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 02/10/12 at 09:38 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.