Calls to Fire Steve Yzerman Growing Louder

Steve Yzerman

Getty Images Steve Yzerman, General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings.

It was not supposed to turn out like this. Steve Yzerman — Stevie Y — the Detroit Red Wings hockey legend, was hired to return the Wings to their rightful glory. Instead, six years into his tenure as general manager, the Wings are flailing, fighting among themselves, and watching their hopes for a wildcard playoff spot slip away once more.

Predictably, many fans — and some in the media — are calling for Yzerman to be fired.

The Yzerman for the Job

The Detroit Red Wings have not made it to the NHL playoffs since 2016. Their hopes for making it in 2024 are fading fast. What happened?

Yzerman was thought to be the best man for the job, certainly the right man for the job of restoring the Red Wings to hockey glory.

Yzerman is both a Detroit Red Wings hockey legend — the team has won three Stanley Cup trophies under his tenure — and a proven NHL general manager. After becoming GM of the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, Yzerman transformed the team into a perennial winner.

Detroit wanted him back. And the team, the front office, and the fans, were all convinced Yzerman would soon  return the Red Wings to Stanley Cup glory. Sadly, the Wings have not been back to the playoffs during Yzerman’s tenure, let alone making it into the Cup finals.

Worse, it’s not looking promising for the Wings in 2024. As of March 19, the Wings are battling the Washington Capitals for the second wildcard slot. Over the past nine games, they’ve managed only two wins, one an OT win against Columbus, the worst team in the Eastern conference.

Strict Adherence to the ‘Yzerplan’

Stubbornness no doubt helped Yzerman during his playing days. Unfortunately, his unwavering commitment to his singular plan to return the Wings to playoff hockey — the so-called “Yzerplan” — has failed to produce anything positive. But this season, after years of futility, the Red Wings have a chance, still, for a wildcard playoff spot.

In a shocking move, however, Yzerman did little to improve the team’s chances when he failed to deal at the trade deadline. Yzerman’s one move, getting Radim Simek from the San Jose Sharks and then sending him to the Wings’ Grand Rapids farm club, won’t do the team much good this year.

Fans are now skeptical that adherence to the “Yzerplan” will pay off this year — or any year. Calls to fire Yzerman are, not surprisingly, growing louder.

The Detroit sports media is stoking the sentiment. Pat Caputo of Detroit sports radio station The Ticket wrote, “the Red Wings collapse is a disaster and does point to Yzerman.” Caputo added that a “drumbeat” is growing to get rid of Yzerman and Wings coach Derek Lalonde.

Blaine Fowler of Detroit radio station WDVD tweeted, “Yzerman should have his feet held to the fire. The Wings were almost 3rd in the division a few weeks ago. WTF??”

Similarly, the “Detroit Sports Podcast” called the Wings play late in the season a “Titanic collapse,” adding, “Either Yzerman is overrated and had no depth or Lalonde lost the team.”

Countless fans have taken to social media to echo these sentiments. Expect them to grow louder. “Fire Steve Yzerman” has become the sad rallying cry of an angry and long-suffering fan base. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.

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