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The Official Site of the Detroit Red Wings

Nothing but good to say about Yzerman

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- As a tribute to Steve Yzerman on his retirement night -- January 2, 2007 at Joe Louis Arena -- the Red Wings solicitated comments from the 30 NHL clubs at the time, along with remarks from other hockey dignitaries.

Here is what they had to say about the Red Wings' longest serving captain:

"He was a pretty quiet leader, but whenever he said something, he would go out and prove it on the ice, producing results through his work ethic. The bigger the game, the better Stevie played. One of the things I've tried to do is lead by example. Before the season started, I had a chance to talk with him on what to expect and he helped run through a few of the little things for me. Hopefully I'll be around a long time to learn a lot from him."
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom

“Steve Yzerman was the consummate professional and a great team leader, who had the respect of everyone in the league. He’s a first-class individual, who is the reason why Detroit has been so successful for so long.” 
Pittsburgh Penguins assistant captain Mark Recchi

“Steve Yzerman was always a great role model for me growing up. He displayed all the qualities of a player and a person that I would want to be: leadership, passion, pride, determination. Steve, thanks for setting such a great example for young players like me.”
Pittsburgh Penguins assistant captain Sidney Crosby

“I admired him and idolized him as a player here in the Detroit area. Not only his great savviness and the way he could stop on a dime and saw the ice, but I think watching his career year-to-year, the wok ethic that he gave, the kind of person he was on and off the ice and the way he approached the game as a leader on the team, he was a great player to idolize and an unbelievable player.

“I remember how upset I was when he didn’t get rookie of the year when Tommy Barrasso, who had a great year, got it. I felt Steve deserved it and from then on, the way he grew in the league is what impressed me.”
Warren, Mich., native and St. Louis center Doug Weight

“The first words that come to mind when thinking about Steve Yzerman are respect and intensity. Steven gave everything in a game and some times he gave it back to me. He was such a leader and his desire to win and be so competitive often times throughout or career together would translate into argumentative situations where we both felt that we were doing what we had to do.

“He and Mark Messier were two players that brought – in the playoffs – such a passion and a fire to the ice that they demanded everyone around them have the same kind of energy level.
“Away from the rink, I’ve had the opportunity to observe him and to bring charitable situations into this building, Make-A-Wish, particularly. And there was no one more giving of his time and again his energy for the less fortunate. He was tremendous.

“I had a lady that was dying of cancer here with her two daughters and her husband, and Steve was phenomenal, him and Darren McCarty. They weren’t invited, they weren’t asked. They saw this lady in a wheelchair and they came right over in the pre-game skate. She passed away a couple of months later, and in her husband’s arms the night before she died, she said that the day at Joe Louis Arena was the most special day of her life.”
NHL referee Kerry Fraser

“When I think of the Red Wings from my playing days I think of Steve Yzerman. He was a rare breed in that he played his entire career with one organization and was able in that time to lead his team from one of the bottom teams in the league to multiple Stanley Cups. He represented his team with great class and dignity and I am sure that he will continue to be a great contributor to the Red Wings franchise in whatever role that he chooses in the future. Congratulations on a great playing career and best wishes moving forward.”
Hockey great Mario Lemieux

“Few players in the game are respected more than Steve Yzerman. He was an outstanding player who had a tremendous influence on his teammates and the game. I had the opportunity to meet him through Hockey Canada and was impressed with his presence on and off the ice. He was the ultimate leader, a winner, and the consummate professional. I am proud to say I played against him and I wish him all the best.”
Phoenix captain Shane Doan

“Steve Yzerman was a tremendous hockey player who epitomized everything good about our game. He loved the game and played with passion every night. He was a winner who led Detroit to three Stanley Cups and was always there for his country to represent Canada on the international stage. He was the face of the Detroit Red Wings and will be remembered as one of the best players and leaders that ever played the game of hockey. It was a pleasure to have worked with him.”
Phoenix Managing Partner and Head Coach Wayne Gretzky

“Steve represents what leadership and commitment mean to the game of hockey. The loyalty he's shown his team and his community over his 22 seasons is unprecedented.  He's one of the most respected guys in the league.”
Edmonton captain Jason Smith

“When I got to play with him in the Olympics, I was amazed for all of the things that he has accomplished, how down to earth he was. He made me feel comfortable and a part of it, which helps, and the way he respects other people really rubs off. He’s had such an amazing career, one that you dream of. Congratulations and I’m sure he’ll continue to be successful with whatever he does.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla

“Steve Yzerman was the ultimate captain. As a player, it would have been an honor for me to have played under his leadership. In addition to his greatness as a player, he also possessed the qualities of being a gentleman – on and off the ice.”
Los Angeles captain Mattias Norstrom

“Steve was a fun, flashy player who was great to watch when he came into the league. Over time you could see how badly he wanted to win and he added other dimensions to his game. He started blocking shots, playing better defense and taking his leadership to a whole other level. He would grind when the game had to be grinded out or score a big, finesse goal when his team needed it. He became a complete player and a complete leader. I witnessed it first-hand playing in Colorado, although I wish I wouldn’t have seen it so close. He was a big part of their success and one of the best who’s ever played the game.”
Columbus captain Adam Foote

“Well, obviously growing up in Michigan, he was an idol and a guy that I watched very closely. He was the star in Detroit and did so many great things for the organization and for Hockeytown. He basically built Hockeytown from the ground up almost, and he was a guy that you would watch and try to emulate as a young player. He’s classy individual as well.”
Minnesota captain Brian Rolston

“Playing against Steve Yzerman was a great thrill; just to watch him on the ice and learn from him. Obviously, with the great rivalry we both were a part of those years; those were special moments as well. But more importantly, getting a chance to play together with the Canadian teams and All-Star games, getting a chance to know him and becoming friends, was something I’ll always cherish. I got to learn firsthand what class was all about on and off the ice. Congratulations Steve, on an unbelievable career and all the memories you provided.”
Colorado captain Joe Sakic

“Steve was great fun to watch. He was a tremendous leader, and a great captain. He was a big influence on my decision to stay and sign a contract with New Jersey. It is rare to see a player of his skill level spend an entire career with one organization. That is special to me, and a lot of other players.”
New Jersey captain Patrik Elias

“When I look at Steve Yzerman, I think of highlight goals and great plays he made. But at the same time you got to look at his determination and his will to win. I think that’s what made him what he was. It allowed him to lead the team to three Stanley Cups. The will to win – that’s what stands out for me.”
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson

“My first NHL game was against Detroit and I stepped on the ice and saw him line up next to me and I was amazed just to be standing beside him. The way he played, the way he skated and the way he made decisions with the puck and without the puck, was unbelievable.

“Nobody can disagree that every time he stepped on the ice he left everything on it. He was one of the best leaders in hockey, if not in sports. He led by example and he really sacrificed everything for the team. That's why he will be a hall of famer and he's going to be respected all over the world and remembered for that.”
Boston captain Zdeno Chara

“I really think Steve is one of the greatest leaders in sports. He led by example. He had tremendous talent, but he really worked for it. I saw him on and off the ice and the way he carried himself. As an athlete, he is the type of person that you want to follow, plain and simple.”
Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour

“He's a tremendous player, a classy player. He reminds me a lot of Ronnie Francis as far as their careers going on at the same time, being the same age, and having a similar presence on and off the ice. He carries himself with a lot of class and is very respected. He's a classy guy who some people said wouldn't be a leader early on, but here he is retiring and people are saying he was a great leader. He was a great player for the league and a great person for the league. When you can have guys like that as marquee players you're pretty lucky.”
Atlanta captain Scott Mellanby

“His offensive talents speak for themselves, but the thing that sticks out in my mind from playing against him is how he would do the little things, like go down to block a shot or stand in there and take the hit to try to get the puck out of the zone to get an offensive opportunity. Those are the things you have to do to have success in hockey, and when you see one of your best offensive players doing those things, it’s pretty inspiring.”
Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer

“When you talk about all-time great leaders in the history of the National Hockey League, Steve Yzerman's name is clearly near the top of that list. As a fellow captain of an Original Six team, I understand the pride he had wearing the Red Wings sweater for 22 seasons, and admire the three Stanley Cup championships he brought to Detroit. He is a great example, both on and off the ice, for the next generation of NHL players.”
New York Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr

“He was probably the greatest leader of this sport. He was such a great player. His retirement is a big loss. Every time you lose a player like him it’s a great loss for hockey.”
Nashville captain Kimmo Timenon

“I played against him a lot of years. There were a lot of wars between Colorado and Detroit. He was a great player and it was very tough to play against him. He was always an honest player who played hard. He was a class act who won a lot of cups there in the end. I wish him all the best and good luck in the future. It was great to play against him.”
Philadelphia captain Peter Forsberg

“The best way to describe Steve Yzerman is that he’s a total class act. He is someone that you want to be like, both on and off the ice. He makes everyone around him better people. As a captain, I find myself in situations where I’m trying to emulate him. Not only was he one of the best captains I ever played for, he’s one of the best people I’ve ever known. His greatest quality as a player was that he respected the job everyone on the team had to do. That’s because he understands what makes a Stanley Cup champion team.”
Tampa Bay captain Tim Taylor

“Steve Yzerman is a great example of how to be a leader. He had a great presence, not only in Detroit, but throughout the whole league. I have a lot of memories watching him play while growing up and I wish him all the best.”
San Jose captain Patrick Marleau

“Steve Yzerman is one of those players who makes you proud to be part of the National Hockey League. Even before I came to North America, I followed Steve’s career. From his first day in the NHL until his retirement, he was a first-class player and person. He had an amazing career. When you consider all the legendary players with the Red Wings, Steve is right up there with them.”
New York Islanders captain Alexei Yashin

“He’s all class. I’ve had the chance to meet him a few times, practicing with him and playing golf. I haven’t had the chance to be on any of his teams, so I can’t really comment on his leadership, but he’s just a consummate professional. He was and probably still is a great player, and he is all class.”
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow

“Steve was such a great leader and competitor. Whether it was watching him or playing against him, I always admired his ability to play with great intensity and composure. Steve always seemed to be under control and to lead his team by his strong example on and off the ice.”
Buffalo captain Chris Drury

“The thing that stands out the most for me was watching him in the 2002 playoffs. We played Detroit in the first round. We were up two games to none and he got them back in the series. He led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup. Steve, basically, skated on one leg and that was so courageous and impressive, and it showed his leadership. I always looked up to him. He’s such a classy person and I like how he carries himself. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Vancouver captain Markus Nasland

“Steve Yzerman is certainly one of the best leaders of the game; an outstanding hockey player, he is known for his true commitment on and off the ice.”
Montreal captain Saku Koivu

“It was a tremendous honor to have had the opportunity to play not only with you but against you. You will always be known as one of the greatest players and leaders the NHL has ever seen. Best of luck to you and your family as you move on to the next stage of your career.”
St. Louis captain Dallas Drake

“We played against Steve and the Red Wings so many times when I was with Calgary in the Western Conference. What always struck me was how, on a team with so many all-stars and hall of fame players, he seemed to stand out. With his ability and the way he carried himself, he defined those Red Wing teams. He really was the ultimate captain in terms of his combination of skill and leadership.”
Washington captain Chris Clark

“The first time I met Steve was at a charity golf tournament when someone introduced him to me. I wasn't in the NHL yet, so he didn’t know me. But he talked to me for about 10 minutes as I told him we played for the same Tier II team. To this day he still goes out of his way to say hello, and asks how things are going.”
Chicago captain Adrian Aucoin

“Steve was an incredibly skilled player that was tough to play against at both ends of the ice. His play on the ice and the way he conducted himself away from the rink showed players and fans that he has great respect for the game.”
Toronto captain Mats Sundin

“Steve was an exceptional ambassador for the game. His hard work and dedication both on and off the ice was recognized throughout the National Hockey League. His name will forever be linked to Detroit Red Wings hockey.”
Florida captain Olli Jokinen

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