Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yzerman's No. 19 to be retired in January

The Detroit Red Wings will officially retire captain Steve Yzerman's No. 19 in a special pre-game ceremony on January 2, 2007.

"For a long time, there was no doubt in ownership's mind that Steve Yzerman would play his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and that his sweater would fittingly go up into the rafters along with the other all-time greatest Red Wing players - Abel, Delvecchio, Howe, Lindsay and Sawchuk," said Detroit senior vice president Jim Devellano. "As to picking a date, we wanted to be sure that this will be a very special evening and with that, it takes a lot of planning."

The No. 19 will be raised to the Joe Louis Arena rafters next to the five previously retired Red Wings jerseys: Terry Sawchuk's #1, Ted Lindsay's #7, Gordie Howe's #9, Alex Delvecchio's #10, and Sid Abel's #12.

An extensive presentation is being planned for the January 2 event that will begin at approximately 6:30 pm, one hour prior to the scheduled start time of the Wings-Anaheim game.

Yzerman, who announced his retirement on July 3, 2006, completed a remarkable 23-year career in the National Hockey League and with the Red Wings. He played 1,514 games (10th all-time), scored 692 goals (eighth all-time) and tallied 1,063 assists (seventh all-time). His 1,755 career points rank sixth all-time in NHL history.

As impressive as Yzerman's statistics are, it his title as the longest serving captain in NHL history that may encapsulate his illustrious career. His 20-year reign as captain of the Detroit Red Wings began in 1986-87. Yzerman supplanted Danny Gare as the youngest captain in franchise history when he was named Detroit's captain at just 21 years old.

Mike and Marian Ilitch purchased the team in June 1982 and soon after appointed Devellano general manager. Devellano used his first pick as Red Wings' GM to select Yzerman fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He is the Red Wings' all-time leader in assists (1,063) and ranks second all-time in goals (692) and points (1,755). Only Howe (1,687) and Delvecchio (1,549) played more games in a Red Wings sweater than Yzerman.

Throughout his career Yzerman excelled in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He made 20 post-season appearances and won the Stanley Cup three times (1997, 1998, 2002). In 1998, Yzerman led the NHL in playoff scoring with 24 points (6 goals, 18 assists) in 22 games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He ranks eighth all-time in playoff scoring (185), 15th in goals (70) and is tied with Adam Oates for 11th in assists (115). He is Detroit's all-time playoff leader in games played (196), goals, assists and points. Yzerman's four hat tricks in the Stanley Cup playoffs are the fifth-most all-time.

In 23 seasons with Detroit, Yzerman led the club in scoring 11 times and scored over 100 points six times. He set franchise records for goals (65), assists (90) and points (155) during the 1988-89 campaign. His five seasons of 50-or-more goals are the most in Red Wings history and he has the three highest goal-scoring seasons in franchise history (65, 1988-89; 62, 1989-90; 58, 1992-93).

Along with 10 NHL All-Star Game selections and the Conn Smythe in 1998, Yzerman also won the Bill Masterson Trophy for perseverance (2002), an Olympic gold medal with Canada (2002), the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward (2000), the Lester B. Pearson Trophy as NHLPA's top player (1989) and was on the NHL all-rookie team (1984).


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