Steve Yzerman Returns To Detroit Red Wings As GM [VIDEO]

Number 19 came home on the 19th day of April.

April 19, 2019 - 4:07 pm
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(WWJ) Number 19 came home on the 19th day of April.

But don't get too excited, too fast. Moments after he was announced as the new General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Yzerman urged fans to be patient.

"It's gonna take time," was the theme of Yzerman's message to the gathered media Friday during his announcement.

Overall, the iconic Yzerman took a measured stance on his approach as GM. "I'm asking for patience," he said. "I know there's a limit to the patience of the fans, of the boss, of everyone, but I'm not going to come here this first year and make a big splash on July 1 just so we're a little bit better next year."

So, what made him return? Yzerman's answers seemed to show it was an easy decision. Bob Wojnowski of 97.1 The Ticket asked Yzerman how he weighed the lure of the Red Wings against their current rebuilding. 

"I like being the general manager, I like being in charge," Yzerman said. "Coming back to the Red Wings for me wasn't a difficult decision. There are so many positives here."

Many noted that it seemed fitting that Yzerman, no. 19 on the Wings, was drafted fourth overall. He announced his return on 4-19. Although in some ways, he never really left. Yzerman said he kept his home here in the off-season.

Is his role with the Wings fate?

"Honestly, the reason we're having the press conference today is we've got work to do," Yzerman said, brushing off the irony of the return date.

Ken Holland, who moved to senior vice president to make way for Yzerman, has been working on this succession plan for the past three months, according to Sportsnet. 

It's a notable change on the part of Holland, who reportedly declined to step aside as GM during Yzerman's first stint in the Red Wings front office from 2006-09. That's what prompted Yzerman's move to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

10 years later, Holland was willing to hand over the reins. Team owner Chris Ilitch praised his work with the team.

"Nobody has worked harder to bring success to the Detroit Red Wings than Ken Holland," Ilitch said.

In eight seasons with the Lightning, Yzerman earned a reputation as one of the best GMs in the league. He built Tampa into a perennial juggernaut with smart draft picks, savvy trades and shrewd negotiations in free agency.