from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Watching from above ice level gives Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman a helpless feeling.
Players prepare to take the ice, coaches game plan and scout the opponent looking for any advantage to exploit. Yzerman, meanwhile, sits around on game days just waiting for the action to start.
“It’s hard to sit and watch without having much of an impact this time of year,” Yzerman said.
Yzerman’s impact already has been made.
After Tuesday night’s series-clinching 4-1 win against Montreal, the Lightning are preparing to play in the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. Game 1 is Saturday in New York, It marks the second time in Yzerman’s five-year tenure the team reached the conference finals.
In 2011, Yzerman’s first season with the franchise, a team led by holdover franchise icons Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis and stop-gap veterans such as Dwayne Roloson and Sean Bergenheim reached Game 7 of the conference finals at Boston.
This time, the Lightning are tailor-made by Yzerman.
“Back in the 2011 playoffs, we were all relatively new and didn’t know what to expect from our team,” Yzerman said.
“It wasn’t as expected as it is here, where the expectations are a little higher,” Yzerman said in comparing 2011 to this year’s team. “So there is more of an expectation to win.”