Red Wings hire Steve Yzerman as general manager

Steve Yzerman is getting another chance to return the Detroit Red Wings to glory.

The Hockey Hall of Famer did it as one of the game’s all-time great leaders, helping Detroit end a 42-year championship drought with the first of three Stanley Cup celebrations of his playing tenure in Detroit.

Now, he has a shot to do it as the Red Wings’ general manager.

The Captain is coming home, a move that fired up a fan base and drew emotional responses from ownership. Perhaps in vain, Yzerman tried to pump the brakes on all the excitement.

“This is going to take time,” Yzerman said repeatedly Friday as he made a plea for patience.

Yzerman provides hope and a jolt of energy for a franchise that desperately needs both after going three straight years without a playoff appearance. His return means Ken Holland’s run as GM is over after 22 years, but he isn’t going far: He starts his new job as senior vice president with a multiyear contract, replacing his GM deal that had one season remaining.

Chris Ilitch, the president and chief executive of Ilitch Holdings, which owns the Red Wings, said Holland encouraged him to hire Yzerman to replace him after the Tampa Bay Lightning — for whom Yzerman had been the GM until stepping down last year just two days before training camp began — gave the Red Wings permission to talk to him about the job in March.

“He said, ‘Steve should be the next general manager of the Red Wings,’” Ilitch recalled.

Marian Ilitch, the founder of Ilitch Holdings, appeared to get choked up during Yzerman’s news conference and couldn’t stop smiling afterward as she celebrated the return of a man she refers to as one of her boys. “I did have a feeling that someday we would be together again,” she said.

Detroit drafted Yzerman No. 4 overall in 1983 and he helped turn around the franchise.

Boychuk out: New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk will miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello announced.

Boychuk blocked a slap shot with his left leg in the second period of the Islanders’ decisive 3-1 win in Game 4 of their first-round series on Tuesday night at Pittsburgh and hobbled off the ice. Lamoriello listed it as a lower-body injury.

Thornton is finalist: Sharks center Joe Thornton is one of three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes to “the NHL player who exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” Blue Jackets center Nick Foligno and Islanders goalie Robin Lehner are the other contenders for the award, which will be presented in Las Vegas on June 19.

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