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What Adding Steve Yzerman As GM Means For Tampa Bay

May 25, 2010

Today, Steve Yzerman was named the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. As someone with a rooting interest in the Lightning, I must honestly say I have a guarded sense of enthusiasm about this.

While Yzerman was probably the best available candidate left on the market, I am slightly nervous about the prospect of someone without prior GM experience running the team. That isn’t to dismiss his resume by any means, I believe he is qualified. My concern is that Tampa Bay is a sunbelt team with a decently solid fanbase and I would hate to see further futility continue to result in lack of fan interest. Honestly, that’s the last thing any sunbelt team needs.

Yzerman does have impressive front office experience that he brings to the job. He was the Executive Director of Team Canada, although so was Gretzky and we all know how that turned out in Phoenix. Since finishing up his career in 2006, Yzerman has worked in the Red Wings’ front office.

What this means for the Lightning is instant stability and credibility. People respect Yzerman and expect him to turn around this franchise. In his introductory press conference, he brought a confidence of a man who knew he could complete this turn around. In fact, he pretty much indicated the turnaround of the Lightning would begin immediately. This hire also vindicates Vinik as an owner dedicated to the forward progression of this team. So perhaps it’s time to bust that Lightning sweater out of the closet and wear it with pride today, we might soon be a contender again.

The Lightning are a young team with a lot of talent. In the press conference earlier today, Yzerman indicated that there is no rush to find a head coach and one may not be found until after the draft. What he did indicate about the head coach search would be that the team is looking for a proven winner with experience. While there are a lot of head coaches out on the market that fulfill that criteria, I submit one that I haven’t really heard mentioned recently.

Larry Robinson.

Robinson has a track record of success. While his career winning percentage is sub .500, it should be noted in two years’ time he turned around the Kings from a team finishing in the bottom of their division to a playoff team. He also won a Stanley Cup as head coach of the New Jersey Devils and in the next season brought them back to the Final. Robinson has a track record of success.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a young team. In his years away from coaching Robinson has been a special assignment coach for the Devils, which essentially means he is sent in to help players progress. This sounds exactly like someone the Lightning need right now.

Mr. Yzerman, hire Larry Robinson.

The future looks bright for the Lightning, I am quite excited for what is to come. I just hope we find a solid coach to lead the team.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2010 3:54 pm

    I don’t mind Larry as a candidate. I’d love to see Scotty Bowman, but I doubt he leaves retirement/whatever he’s still doing with Chicago. Admittedly, I got so caught up in the GM hype, that I’m somewhat naive about the coaches available. Hitchcock I know, which originally I was excited about, but I don’t know how well he’d get along with Yzerman.

  2. May 25, 2010 4:08 pm

    Largely enjoyed the piece. Yzerman also made it a point to say a younger coach… which Robinson is not. He is on my list of just-throwing-out-names though. But so is Guy Carbonneau, Michel Therrien, and Blackhawks assistant Haviland.

  3. May 25, 2010 4:55 pm

    I think that while looking for a young coach is something he claimed he wanted, Robinson does fill the majority of the criteria. I wouldn’t be surprised about Haviland.

    As for Hitchcock, I go to enough Blue Jackets games up here to know that his system does not work as effectively post-lockout as it did previously.

  4. geezette permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:37 pm

    I know I’m off topic, but you haven’t mentioned the GLJHL having teams in both Indy and Fort Wayne this coming season. The rivalry between the two was terrific in the last century.

    Stevie Y is a pretty bright guy and can certainly get reccomendations and reviews of coaching applicants.

    • May 26, 2010 9:28 pm

      Oh, I have noticed that. I was thinking about mentioning it. Might apply to intern with the Inferno. Essentially, I found a way to get paid $25 to watch a hockey game. Don’t have a problem with that at all.

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