Thursday, May 17, 2012

Throwback Tuesday

Welcome to the 4th edition of Throwback Tuesday. This week I had no clue as to what athlete I would choose to be my throwback player. With baseball season in full swing, and the NBA playoffs intensifying. I thought to myself, hockey doesn't get much love around this time of the year. So the player I chose, is none of than "The Captain" Steve Yzerman.

A young man from across the water (Canada) brought his talents to the NHL back in 1983. Steve was drafted 4th overall by the Detroit Red Wings. In just his rookie season with the Wings, Yzerman scored 39 goals and had 87 points. He also finished 2nd in rookie of the year voting. If that wasn't enough, Steve was voted to the all star team at 18 years old. In just his 3rd season with the Wings, he was named team captain. The youngest captain in team history, and it showed as "The Captain" led the Red Wings to its 1st division title in 23 years. Fast forward to 1993 when Scotty Bowman took over as head coach of the Red Wings. Scotty and Steve didnt exactly see eye in the beginning, but that changed quickly. At one point the team thought about trading away Yzerman, but they held on to. Within 2 years, in 1995...Steve and Scotty led the Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals for the 1st time since 1966 (well before my time), only to be swept by the New Jersey Devils. Even after getting the team to the Finals, his leadership was still in question.

The Detroit Red Wings organization as a whole could put all of the questions they had about Stevie Y and his ability to lead a team and commit to defense to rest. In 1997, the Red Wings went on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cups Finals and bring the cup back to the city of Detroit for the 1st time in 42 years. The winning didnt stop. The following year the Wings defended their title and swept the Washington Capitals. Yzerman was named the Stanley Cup Finals MVP. Steve was in his prime, and he had the team playing at a very high level. In 1999, Steve became the 11th player in NHL history to score 600 goals. The following year he made the NHL All Star First Team and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy (Defensive Player Award). Stevie Y and the Wings would go on to win the Stanley Cup again in 2002.

Steve Yzerman would then suffer some injuries later in his career, which caused him to miss some games and not play to at a high level. In 2005, Steve would sign his last contrat as a player. In that season, he scored his 691st goal passing Mario Lemieux for 8th place. Steve Yzerman went on to retiree from the NHL in 2006, and then appeared on Sports Illustrated for the first time. The Red Wings would keep him in the organiztion, by putting him in the front office as team vice president. 3 years later, Stevie Y would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Steve Yzerman is a legend in the city of Detroit. When you think  Detroit Red Wings or Hockey Town, Steve is one of the first names you think of. He had the longest career wearing the "C" as the longest serving captain on one team (20 years). The Captain has had many accomplishments, below is the legacy he left here the Hockey Town:

  • 9x NHL All Star
  • NHL First Team
  • 2002 Olympic Gold Medalist
  • 3 Stanley Cups
  • Sixth in NHL history in points
  • Eighth in NHL goals
  • Seventh in NHL assists
  • First in Red Wings history in assists; second in points and goals; third in games played; second all-time in seasons and games played with only one NHL franchise
  • Longest-serving captain for a team in league history (1,303 games)
  • Lester B. Pearson Award
  • Conn Smythe Award
  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
  • Frank J. Selke Trophy
  • Lester Patrick Trophy
  • Inducted into Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Number 19 retired with Detroit Red Wings

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