Yzerman: The Making of a Champion
Steve Yzerman is one of the most admired hockey players in one of the sport’s most exciting eras. This is the story of his metamorphosis from Ontario Hockey League sniper to the ultimate NHLer. Stevie Y went fourth overall in the very strong 1983 draft, and has more than double the points of almost anyone else from that year, which includes luminaries like Cam Neely, Sylvain Turgeon, and Pat LaFontaine. He’s one of only three players in NHL history to reach 155 points in a season; Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are pretty elite company. Only eight players have reached 1000 points in fewer games. And yet for years Yzerman was seen as something of an underachiever. Amazingly, he was overlooked for the ’87 and ’91 Canada Cup squads. Although he was handed the Wings’ captaincy in 1986 when he was only 21, Detroit fans wondered when he would reverse the team’s fortunes. When the Red Wings were bumped from the early rounds of the playoffs in the early ’90s, and were swept in the ’95 final, many fingers pointed at the captain. But a Stanley Cup victory in ’97 elevated Yzerman to greatness. Like Gretzky, Lemieux, and Messier, the centres who had eclipsed him for roster spots on Team Canada, Yzerman proved he was a winner. He proved it again the next season, when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player, and yet again in 2002 (when many thought he should have won his second Conn Smythe). He was also pivotal in Team Canada’s first Olympic gold medal win since 1956. He is now in his 21st season with the Red Wings, the longest-serving captain in NHL history. He is one of the league’s highest scorers, and has been called the all-time greatest two-way player, as his Selke Trophy attests. He is also a gritty, inspiring example, as his Masterton Trophy suggests. Though the Red Wings were bounced in the first round of the ’02-’03 playoffs, Yzerman’s leadership and resolve shone though. Douglas Hunter’s Yzerman brings the Wings’ captain to life. Skilled, fearless, indomitable, and affable, Steve Yzerman is perhaps the most-loved and most respected player in the NHL today. If you love hockey, you can’t help loving Steve Yzerman. From the Hardcover edition.