Yzerman passes off to Gretzky

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Steve Yzerman has put the Olympic ball back in Wayne Gretzky's court.

When submitting Canada's preliminary list, Gretzky -- the team's executive director -- said the 40-year-old Yzerman has a spot on the Turin roster if he wants it.

Yzerman said yesterday the decision would be up to Gretzky and the rest of Team Canada's braintrust, not him.

"I don't think it's my decision," said Yzerman after a morning practice in Calgary. "If my play merits a spot on the team, I'll be there. If it doesn't, I won't."

Yzerman opted out of the 2004 World Cup due to injury.

Judging from his stats, it's obvious the longtime Red Wings captain is nearing the end of his great career. He has one goal and three assists in 11 games this season.

Wings teammate Brendan Shanahan said Yzerman brings many intangible assets to any team.

"He's a calming force when things don't go well. He can turn a potential four- or five-game slide into just one or two with just some calmness in the room," he said. "That's what a leader does."


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