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Yzerman non-committal on alumni game

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman spoke to the media for about seven-minutes prior to Saturday's game against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The Red Wings already have a who’s who list of former players lined up to play in next month’s Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park.

But the most famous of them all was non-committal when asked Saturday night if he would participation in the Dec. 31 doubleheader against former players from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I haven’t given it really much thought,” said, Steve Yzerman, the general manager of both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Team Canada. “I’ve been pretty busy with our team and watching a lot of hockey games for the Olympics so I haven’t really looked that far ahead.”

The Red Wings’ roster for the exhibition games boasts 12 players and coaches who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and 29 who won a Stanley Cup championship during their stay in Detroit.

Aside from Gordie Howe, who is scheduled to attend the game, Yzerman is the most recognizable name in Hockeytown. But it’s been more than seven years since the former captain last skated in any kind of organized game.

“I’ve had skates on like three times to do something minor,” Yzerman said. “I’ve just kind of moved on a little bit. I don’t have time to skate and don’t really have a real desire to.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has compiled the alumni roster, but when asked if he has had conversations about the game with his former boss, Yzerman said, “We haven’t really talked about it.”

It’s been more than 10 years since Yzerman, 48, had radical knee to prolong his illustrious career. The procedure, called an osteotomy, is usually done on older people for the purpose of giving them mobility without pain for a better quality of life. Following the surgery, he played two-plus seasons, compiling 34 goals, 59 assists and a plus-24 rating in 152 games.

Since much of his time is spent managing the Lightning, which began this season with a 11-4-0 record, Yzerman said he hasn’t given the alumni game much thought, especially since he doesn’t own a pair of skates.

“I really am doing a lot of other things right now I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “I don’t even own a pair of skates so I may have to take up a collection.”

With the added duties of preparing Team Canada for the Sochi Olympics in February, Yzerman said he’s not sure he’ll have time to attend the alumni games, even as a spectator.

“We’ll see what my schedule is,” Yzerman said. “Again I haven’t looked that far ahead.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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