Yzerman's shot wide of mark

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

Steve Yzerman has earned respect. The Nepean product and captain of the Detroit Red Wings has been a marvellous player, represented his country with honour and is a lock for the Hall of Fame.

But he was wrong when he did a rip job on the NHL product these days.

"Everybody keeps saying this is great. It's not great. It's not hockey," he said.

Sorry, Steve, but you're in the minority on this one.

FANS SAY OTHERWISE

Attendance and TV ratings in Canada are the only proof you need to see the new product is being welcomed by the people whose opinions should matter most -- the fans.

Senators coach Bryan Murray likes what he sees and couldn't resist a gentle jab at his old captain.

"Is Steve getting old and senile?" he asked.

Murray agreed there might be some "borderline" calls that need to be weeded out, but said he was confident they would be as everyone adjusts to the new initiatives.

"A guy does the right thing, gets good position, the stick happens to make contact below the shin pad on an attacker and he gets called for it. I think that's going to get cleaned up as we go forward," said Murray yesterday.

'LEARNING CURVE'

"There was a learning curve for the players, the defencemen, I think there's a learning curve for everybody participating in the game.

"For anybody to say it's not hockey ... What we've tried to do in the league, with each team, is to make the game more entertaining, score more goals and that's happening.

"I think our game is a good game despite what Steve says and I admire him a great deal. I think we have a good thing going here and we should continue to keep it going."

Right on.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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