Skip to main content

Yzerman returns to Detroit as GM of Lightning

by Adam Kimelman
LIGHTNING (11-10-2) at RED WINGS (14-7-1)


Last 10:
Tampa Bay 5-5-0; Detroit 8-2-0

Season series: This is the only time the teams will play this season. In their only meeting last season, Pavel Datsyuk scored 2 goals as the Wings won 6-2 in Tampa Bay.

Big Story:
It's the first time back in Detroit for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, whose No. 19 hangs from the Joe Louis Arena rafters.

Team Scope:

Lightning: Dana Tyrell never really doubted where he stood with Tampa Bay, but he's a lot surer of his standing now that he's got a new two-year, one-way contract.

Tyrell signed the new deal Monday, after just three games following his call-up from AHL Norfolk, where he had been sent to start the season after playing 78 games with the Lightning last season.

"They definitely stayed positive towards me and kept in touch with myself and my agent," Tyrell told the St. Petersburg Times. "I knew they had plans for me. I knew they were showing a commitment, so it shows their loyalty."

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said the demotion to start the season wasn't a knock on Tyrell, but since he could be sent down without needing to clear waivers, he was easy to move when the team wanted to try a few things with the roster at the start of the season.

"It might turn out to be a blessing in disguise," Tyrell said. "Everything happens for a reason. I was able to go down there and work on my game. Getting recalled last week and getting my contract extended is exciting and it does show Tampa's commitment to me, so that shows a lot."

Red Wings: Players know the consequences for blocking shots -- Detroit forward Patrick Eaves will be out 6-8 weeks after surgery Monday to repair a broken jaw -- but understand it's a consequence of a job they have to do.

"You still got to play your role and block shots," forward Drew Miller told "You just hope for a better situation, where it hits you in the shoulder pad or, best-case scenario, hits you in the pants or the shin pad.

"We wear guards on our skates and try to put ourselves in a position where we don't get hit like that (Eaves). It's unfortunate, but it's part of the game, blocking shots. You just hope for injuries not to be like that."

Fellow Wing Ian White especially sympathizes with Eaves -- he missed four games after getting hit in the face blocking a shot.

"It’s scary sometimes, seeing the way Patty got hit. It's probably the worst part of our sport," White told "You got to get in the way of pucks, and pretty much all these are bad bounces. You don't see it very often, but when it happens it could be ugly."

Who's Hot: Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has goals in three straight games, and his 4 goals in that span have moved him to second in the League with 15. … Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula has 4 goals and 5 points in his last three games.

Injury Report:
Lightning forward Steve Downie, who has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury, likely will play Wednesday. Defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee) is out. … Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves will miss the next 6-8 weeks after surgery Monday to repair a broken jaw. Forward Jan Mursak is out for at least another 2-3 weeks with an ankle injury. Forward Johan Franzen skipped practice Tuesday due to what the team called a maintenance day for a minor lower-body injury, but Franzen told that he will be in the lineup Wednesday.

Stat Pack: The Lightning have won just once in 14 games ever at Joe Louis Arena. Their only win in Detroit came Jan. 12, 1994. They have 12 losses and one tie there.

Puck Drop:
It's certain to be an emotional night for Yzerman, who accomplished so much in his 22 seasons as a player with the Red Wings.

"Depends on what the score is," Yzerman told reporters during the Lightning's practice Tuesday, "it could be very emotional."

"We're looking forward to having Stevie back at the Joe," Henrik Zetterberg, a teammate for three seasons, told the Detroit Free Press. "It's going to be fun, and hopefully, we can get away with two points."

However, Yzerman is looking at this game in his old home only as a way to judge his current team.

"It's an opportunity to assess our team and see how we play against one of the better teams in the League, against some of the best players in the League," said Yzerman. "It should be a good experience for us."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.