Steve Yzerman’s best move so far for the Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings general manager has made many moves, but this is the best move so far in his tenure.
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Dave Sandford/GettyImages
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Prospects are my favorite part of the Detroit Red Wings at this point. It’s no secret, they are my priority when discussing the future of the team and the key to success.

What good is a prospect if his development is stifled? 

As Detroit Red Wings general manager focused the first 3 years of his rebuild on the big club and drafting, he let the Grand Rapids Griffins do their own thing. I hear the critics now, it wasn’t detrimental to the system or prospects who were destined to make it.

I hear the argument and I’d say, Victor Brattström and Pontus Andreasson suffered. If Yzerman had focused on revamping the coaching staff for the Grand Rapids Griffins a season sooner, would these players have a different fate? We won’t ever know.

What I know for certain is the coaching staff that was deployed in 2023-24 is lightyears ahead of the previous regime. 

The Grand Rapids Griffins head coach selection is the best decision, possibly most pivotal move, of Steve Yzerman’s tenure with the Detroit Red Wings.

I work in the call center realm as my main gig. It’s a mundane industry where we have many sayings. One of the biggest, most applicable is employees not quitting their jobs. They quit on their managers. I think it applies to any job, including ice hockey regardless of level of play.

In my work experience, I have mostly been fortunate, blessed, whatever you want to call it with good to fantastic managers. Some managers who literally saved my life in many ways, let alone gave me a reason to come to work everyday (albeit somedays more willingly than others). 

There was also a trainwreck of an experience.

My first job, early morning shift in a coffee/donut shop-type of place (I’m not a morning person). Think Dunkin Donuts, but a locally owned-version.

The ladies who hired me were really nice, but I had no clue what I was doing. In our family, coffee was never a thing. The closest my sister and I could come to caffeinated beverages was coke. No mountain dew or coffee as we already had hyperactivity issues, so that was a no go for us growing up. 

As a very shy, on auto-pilot teenager I didn’t properly communicate that i had no clue what I was doing. Literally, I didn’t even know what an equal is (a fake sugar option, me thinks). Someone would ask me for a light coffee. What did that mean? I still don’t know.

Meanwhile, the ladies were chilling, smoking in the backroom.

Eventually, they called me and said they don’t need me again until August. I’m not sure what month or year it was, but I’m still awaiting that August shift. 

On the other hand, I had a co-worker in my first call center job. Picture this: Thanksgiving, there weren't many calls coming into our call center, so we all congregated in on big aisle to play a game. 

I sat next to a lady from Chicago who struck up a conversation. Months down the line, she helped wake me up from my auto-pilot. She got to know me, what drives me, and built me up. To this day, nobody ever makes me feel so confident in myself than the way she does by just believing in me. 

In a job where nobody stays in the same place long, I stayed until the ship literally sank (the entire center was laid off and closed, per usual in the call center world).

To anybody who doesn’t believe that a coach or management can make that much of a difference in development, I beg to differ as I have lived through both ends of the spectrum. They, in fact, make a world of a difference.

It’s up to the player to make it as far as he can, but it’s also up to the management group to find the best coaches to get the most out of their players.