Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

A Young Steve Yzerman

11/02/2018 at 12:21pm EDT

from Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet,

Run down the list of the NHL’s all-time leading scorers and just six names sit above Steve Yzerman’s. Only seven players in league history managed to set up more goals than the Canadian pivot. A mere eight scored more than the 692 he put in the back of the net himself.

The Hall of Famer who built the Detroit Red Wings into a juggernaut on the ice and eventually did the same for the Tampa Bay Lightning from the front office has a trophy case stuffed with team and individual awards. But before all that — before he was captaining big-league squads to back-to-back Cup Final sweeps in the late ’90s — Yzerman was a quiet, doggedly determined kid in Nepean, Ont., routinely making life nightmarish for his teenage foes.

Denis Giacobbi remembers it well. A defenceman for the Gloucester Rangers at the time, Giacobbi’s squad went toe to toe with a 15-year-old Yzerman’s Nepean Raiders in the 1981 CJHL finals.

“I was probably one of the more physical defencemen in the league, so, you know, finding targets and playing that kind of role,” Giacobbi recalls. “But this little Steve Yzerman kid that came up — you couldn’t hit him. You couldn’t find him. He’d be there, he’d be along the boards or coming down the boards — you’d have him lined up for the old 1980 hip check back in the day, which Mr. Potvin made famous coming out of Ottawa, and next thing you know, he would stop on a dime.

“He was so agile, so smart with the puck. The ability to evade the check and find gaps in the opposing defence was just incredible.”


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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that.

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