Yzerman may return in 2014
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
Steve Yzerman, the executive director of Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics, would jump at the chance to put together the team that will compete in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
VANCOUVER - Steve Yzerman admitted in the golden glow that he had second-guessed his choices for Team Canada.
But he never questioned his decision to take on the job as its executive director.
And he’d jump at the chance again.
“I loved it, but it was very stressful,” Yzerman said. “Given the chance to represent Canada and be the guy in charge, if somebody offered it to me, I didn’t hesitate the first time, I wouldn’t hesitate again.
“Nothing beats being a player and being out on the ice competing,” said Yzerman, who won Olympic gold in 2002 as a player. “This has been every bit as rewarding. I can’t say it’s been as enjoyable.”
Problem is, four years from now, Yzerman is going to be too busy, maybe, being an NHL GM for some smart team.
HEAR AND THERE: USA coach Ron Wilson is often accused of being arrogant, but I thought he struck a lot of right notes after the game. “I think both teams are winners and, maybe more than anything, hockey in general,” said Wilson ... Spotted near the press area: Captain Kirk, William Shatner ... There was also talk of golfer Mike Weir being in the house ... Yzerman was asked what was said in the Canadian room before overtime. “I don’t know. I was upstairs,” he said, “and we weren’t saying a whole lot.”
REVELATIONS: Both coaches are in favour of NHL players playing in the Olympics in Sochi, even though that might not go over well with NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman, who are noncommittal at this point. “I think it’s great for hockey,” said Wilson. “I think we have to give back to all fans, everywhere. We do a pretty good job of stealing players from every country. We owe their fans a chance to witness a tournament like this”...“I think the best players in the world should have the chance to compete for gold,” said Canadian coach Mike Babcock, adding he’d like to see the NHL add two weeks to the schedule in an Olympic year. Hear, hear.
SPECULATIONS: Okay, so Wilson couldn’t help himself. “Canada and the United States play the game the way it should be, not sitting back on your heels waiting for something bad to happen and counter-punching, but actually going on the attack. Mike’s teams play that way. I try to play that way, not very successfully right now with the team in Toronto, but that’s what we’re trying to...” said Wilson, before being interrupted by laughter. “That’s nothing to laugh at,” he said. “I’m teaching them to play the right way, not the Slovakian or Czech or Russian way where you sit back and wait and wait and wait. This was a classic hockey game, exactly the way the game should be played. The game was invented in Canada and I think we in the United States have morphed into the same style of play”... “I always say you don’t get in your car in the parking lot and put one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas,” Babcock said. “You just put it on the long skinny one on the right and get going and that’s the way we like to play.”
THE BUZZ: Wilson was asked if this was the greatest game ever. “In Canada now, it’s the greatest game ever,” Wilson said. “In the United States, it’s 1980. Whoever wins thinks it’s the greatest game ever” ... Veteran Scott Niedermayer saved his best game for last. It only seemed like he played the last 10 minutes.
JUST SAYING: As the Canadian flag was raised, the Canadians stood on the ice and sang the anthem. “I’ve got one of the worst voices around,” said Canada’s Jonathan Toews, “but all embarrassment goes out the window” ... Yzerman wasn’t a huge fan of the Own the Podium approach. “Canadians have always been considered humble. I hope we always remain humble and gracious people. I hope this doesn’t change anything” ... They’re starting to rip the press box apart — some guy has a drill whining in my ear — so I guess it’s time to file and go back to our original (sigh) programming.