Stevie Y. will be missed

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

It just won't be the same.

For the first time in 23 years Steve Yzerman will not be in the Detroit Red Wings lineup when they face the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Rexall Place.

Last season the Red Wings legend and future hall of famer pulled the plug on a magical career which dates back to 1983.

"You can't replace guys like that," said Oilers winger Ryan Smyth. "The leadership that he brought both on and off the ice, you can't replace that."

Yzerman played the last of his 1,710 career NHL game in Edmonton last season as the Oilers defeated the Red Wings in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. In September, he was named the Red Wings vice-president.

"He was very effective in that series, even when he didn't seem to play a whole lot - I know he had a lot of injuries," said Smyth. "I think he hit the post in Game 6. He always added extra energy, it didn't matter how old or how young he was."

Yzerman won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, and was the team's captain for 19 seasons. He retired as the longest-serving captain in NHL history.

"He had so many good years," said Oilers centre Jarret Stoll. "To play his entire career with one team is pretty special. That doesn't happen nowadays.

"It'll be different not to see him on the ice. He was always an idol of mine growing up and it was good to play against him."


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