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Yzerman sharpening front-office skills

by Dan Rosen

When you hang around the Detroit Red Wings for a while, you're bound to interact with some legends of the game. Few are bigger than Steve Yzerman.

"Stevie Y," as the hockey world knows him, retired after the 2005-06 season with 1,755 points in 1,514 games, three Stanley Cup rings and a 20-season reign as the Red Wings’ captain, the longest tenure in NHL history.

Yzerman, who is sixth on the list of the NHL's all-time leading scorers, jumped right to Detroit's management team upon retiring back on July 3, 2006. This year, he took on the dual title of vice president and alternate governor of the Red Wings.

Yzerman gracefully took some time at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament for an exclusive Q&A with -- Describe what you're doing for the Red Wings on a day-to-day basis now?
Steve Yzerman
-- "Well, mostly I just hang around the rink and watch a lot of hockey games. I try to watch our prospects play. I try to watch our minor league team play. I try to spend as much time as I can with Kenny (Holland), Jim Nill and (Director of Hockey Administration) Ryan Martin in the front office, observe and listen as to how they run the team and offer my input on players when asked." -- What do you think your future is on this end of the game?
Yzerman -- "I'd like to run a team one day. I am interested in a lot of different aspects in hockey and my goal is to run a team one day." -- Did you think when you finished up that you would be in management so quickly? Was this a goal for you?
Yzerman -- "Well, what I'm doing right now isn't the final goal. I always wanted to be a part of management. I like the game and I like being a part of a team. Upon retirement, and even before retirement, I knew I wanted to get into management." -- What about it interests you the most?
Yzerman -- "I think it would be a great challenge to put together a team to win the Stanley Cup." -- That's it?
Yzerman -- "That's all there is." -- What's your favorite part about your current job?
Yzerman -- "I really enjoy being associated and working with our staff. I like the people personally. They're a lot of fun, and I really learn a lot. I don't know if there is anything specific, but I like sitting around and talking hockey. Whether we're talking about contracts or a player, any situation I enjoy talking about." -- How much are you involved in prospect development and what some of your views on your prospects?
Yzerman -- "I'm not really involved in the development. (Director of Player Development) Jiri Fischer spends a lot more time traveling and spending time with the players. I watch them. The kids that we draft, I try to keep an eye on them and see their development. For me, it's a good learning experience watching them develop from year to year. Over the course of a few years I'll learn a lot about how they develop, which ones become pros and why they become pros." -- Do you interact with them?
Yzerman -- "Yeah, a little bit. I try to if I'm at one of their games to stop by and say hello." -- Is it hockey player to hockey player, or are these young guys, who know who you are, somewhat reserved around you?
Yzerman -- "Yeah, most of the young kids are very quiet. They don't say much. You get one-word answers. They're shy, so it's tough to get a lot out of them." -- Do you think it's because you are you, a legend in the game, or is that just their nature?
Yzerman -- "No, I think that's just their nature. It's not me." -- You're up for the Hall of Fame in 2009. Do you think about it? This could be a great class, one that rivals the one that just went in with you, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, Brett Hull all eligible. Do you let your mind wander to that?
Yzerman -- "No. You know, of course I'd love to be in the Hall of Fame, but we'll see. It's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about."

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