The Athletic’s Joe Smith posted a lengthy interview with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik this afternoon, and Smith’s interview includes the following discussion of Steve Yzerman’s decision to step down as Tampa Bay’s GM and eventually rejoin the Red Wings:
Last summer, you said you were surprised Steve stepped down (as GM). I think everyone was. I don’t think many people are surprised that he ended up back in Detroit (as Red Wings GM). Is this what you expected to happen, too, or was there still hope he’d stay with the Lightning beyond this year?
I hoped he’d stay beyond this year. [GM] Julien [BriseBois] (did), too. Steve talked about how his family needed him in Detroit and still needs him there. That was the right decision for him. Certainly, in the back of my mind, I knew there’s a good chance he’d become the manager of the Wings. At the end, he was very respectful. He didn’t have conversations (with Detroit) until later into the season. I’m not sure that any of us were surprised. I wish him the best of luck being the second-best team in the NHL.
Have you spoken with Yzerman much since he left?
We sat in these two seats where we are now, had a conversation after the end of the season, spent three or four hours together. We were talking about the last eight or nine years, talking about the season, why we lost — just enjoying each other’s company. We had a great run together.
But he apologized: “Sorry I didn’t bring you the Stanley Cup.” That’s why Steve was here, and that was his main motive. We wanted sustained success, a chance to win each year. And a lot has to go right to win. But we didn’t. Every year that goes by, that becomes even more our focus.