-- Still hanging in his room back at his parents' home in Muskegon, Mich., is one of Justin Abdelkader
's favorite posters from his childhood.
It's framed and it's been there since he was 10 years old in 1997 -- the year the Detroit Red Wings
won their first of four Stanley Cups in the modern era, led by "The Captain" Steve Yzerman
Nearly 15 years later, Abdelkader plays for the Red Wings and will be in uniform on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena when Yzerman makes his first return to Detroit since becoming the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning
in May 2010. It's sure to be a special game for Yzerman, Abdelkader and pretty much anybody who was a Red Wings fan for the last 20 years.
"I definitely followed him and the career he had," said Abdelkader, who will center Detroit's fourth line against the Lightning. "He was always a fun player to watch and always led his team on the ice. I remember seeing him in the playoffs when he was playing injured and playing on one leg. His knee was really bothering him and you could see the pain he was in, but he just kept battling through it and kind of helped his team muscle through the playoffs. I was a huge fan, for sure."
Like a lot of people his age, Abdelkader doesn't even remember a time in his life when the Red Wings weren't very good. Yzerman is a big reason for that, after coming to Detroit as the Wings' top pick in the 1983 NHL Draft (No. 4) and seizing the captain's "C" on his sweater in 1986.