Roundup of opinions on Lightning hiring Steve Yzerman

yzermanhof.jpgAfter reading a ton of takes regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning hiring Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman as their new GMHoosier Hockey’s stance is the closest to my own.

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.

The positive for Yzerman is that Tampa Bay has plenty of talent, with players such as Steve Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and the 2009 NHL Entry Draft’s No. 2 pick Victor Hedman. Naturally, the Lightning earn the credibility that comes with hiring a hockey icon who gained experience with the best organization in hockey.

Here’s a collection of some of the reactions to Yzerman’s hiring.

First, Puck Daddy weighed in on the prominent move.

Yzerman is as stoic as the Lightning have been chaotic. He’s as respected as the Lightning have been disrespected, to the point where one Canadian columnist predicted Yzerman would never take the job with such a “bottom feeder.” He’s a champion and a winner for a franchise that’s not known the feeling since 2004.

He’s Stevie flippin’ Y. And now he’s Tampa’s hockey Zeus, Lightning in hand.

Ansar Khan shares the Red Wings’ mixed emotions regarding the Lightning hiring Yzerman as their GM.

A Tampa Bay Online story reports that Yzerman doesn’t expect the Lightning will be an overnight success and that he’ll take a “methodical” approach to re-building the team.

More views and quips on the Yzerman hiring after the jump.

Tom Jones from Tampa shares this amusing tidbit:

New Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was the fourth pick in 1983 draft. Know who the first pick was in the 1983 draft? Brian Lawton, the former Lightning general manager. Yzerman turned out to be the better player, Now let’s see if he can be the better GM, although the bar set by Lawton is not very high.

James Mirtle points out that the Red Wings tried to keep Yzerman around by making him the GM while promoting current GM Ken Holland to team president, but Holland declined to do so. Being a smart organization, the Red Wings didn’t push Holland any further.

Don’t Trade Vinny shares its humorous take on Yzerman’s “interview” process with the Lightning.

Finally, Damian Cristodero of Tampa provides the likely consensus of opinions on the hiring.

One thing is for sure, Vinik has kept saying he wanted to put a “world-class” management team in place. Given Yzerman’s accomplishments on and off the ice, he seems to have taken that first step.

(Note: Raw Charge and From the Rink‘s posts on this subject were invaluable in putting this together.)

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”