April 01, 2006

Stevie Y. quietly moves up the list...again: He's passed Mario Lemieux and he's sneaking up on Mark Messier for 7th all time. No matter how many he scores or what accolades he gets, he's still IMHO is the most under-rated long time player in the NHL. Perhaps because he doesn't blow his own horn, just sets off the one marking yet one more goal scored. He comes to work, day after day, hurt or not and does his job without a single brag ever heard from him.

posted by commander cody to hockey at 10:15 PM - 18 comments

Hell Yes. I'd take one yzerman to two wayne gretskys any day. Best hockey player we have left.

posted by RadioZombie at 11:12 PM on April 01

Best all around center I have had the pleasure to watch. 3 cups, selke and a Conn Smythe, this guy has done it all.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:37 PM on April 01

yeah...i'd prefer stevie wonder to gretz now....after all...wayne is what? 45....46? and retired for a few years now. in his prime wayne was 5 times the player steve yzerman ever was, and steve would tell u that himself. that being said.....stevie y is an all time great, and a class act. the fans in detroit have been lucky to have him, and real lucky they didn't trade him away when he was stuggling his first few years in the league. he's played magnificently for many years and represented his country with pride, class and grace. hats off mr yzerman!

posted by tommytrump at 12:09 AM on April 02

I'm a Blues fan(sorry) and even I can not hate this guy. He has killed my team so many times but no one with any sense of hockey history can feel anything towards him but total respect. The greatest compliment I can pay him - the captain's captain.

posted by sirvomitousIV at 12:55 AM on April 02

The Wings have had good players and great players. Stevie Y. fits the latter. Gretz 5 times the player, I really doubt that. Having been a hockey fan for 45 years and followed the game as close in the early days as sports pages would print, Stevie is in the top of the group of players. Gretz was in that same group. Yes I am a Wingnut!! I remember the Great One, Gordy. Go Wings!!!

posted by coach at 05:48 AM on April 02

Yzerman and Gretzky aren't comparable - they had two very different styles of hockey and both got results in their own way. Yzerman reminds me of the way Alan Iverson plays basketball - throw yourself at your opponents, play gutsy and physical. Gretzky, more like Larry Bird - more pure talent and less need to get physical. Hell, Yzerman and Howe aren't comparable either. Why must everything be ranked and assessed in this manner anyways? Yzerman still is the grinder and the captain that epitomizes the work-ethic of those cup winning teams.

posted by insomnyuk at 07:06 AM on April 02

In typical "Wiser-Man" fashion, you didn't hear the bitching about less ice time early in the season, and you don't hear any self-congratulations after passing Lemieux. That's why I admire this man so much. When you want a definition for "actions speak louder than words," check under the letter "Y."

posted by wingnut4life at 07:43 AM on April 02

I met him once. Manny Legace invited my son to the Joe. Manny told Stevie that he was my sonís favorite Wing. Yzerman acted like he had known my son for years, talked to him for 15 or 20 minutes & signed a bunch of stuff. He wasnít playing at the time either He is the classiest guy in sports. Great career, great guy, still have him 3rd on list behind Wayne & Howe thought, as far as hockey goes. A 4th cup may move him up though! GO WINGS, the playoffs are getting close.

posted by directpressure at 09:20 AM on April 02

the great one....that would be wayne. gordie...NOT gordy....he's MR HOCKEY....and happy birthday mr. howe!

posted by tommytrump at 10:07 AM on April 02

Oops! I didn't really mean to compare Yzerman and Gretzky like that..... But... if I could travel into the past, AND own a hockey team..... AND I had the opportunity to sign either one of these guys in the beggining of his career.... I would sign Yzerman over Gretsky. No offense to Gretzky, but Yzerman is the type of person I want on my team. His selfless style of play would inspire every member on my team to play better. hahaha

posted by RadioZombie at 11:19 AM on April 02

The greatest compliment I can pay him - the captain's captain. That says it all...especially when most, if not all, of the captains in the NHL would agree.

posted by roberts at 11:36 AM on April 02

You people comparing Gretzky and Yzerman , and coming to the conclusion that there is even a remote arguement here, are nuts. And they are very comparable - having played in the league at the same time, at the same position and both baring the brunt of the scoring responsibility. Here's the news - Gretzky is better. By a long shot. I love me some Stevie Y, but he is not under-rated. He'll go in as a first ballot HoFer and have his number retired - not under-rated at all. The biggest injustice for Stevie was being left off the Hockey News top 50 all-time. He deserved to be in there. But not at the top.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:54 PM on April 02

I'm with Weedy on this, and I'll add that most of the comments about Yzerman here are about the late-edition Stevie Y, not the guy who scored most of the goals. For the first 10 or so years of Yzerman's career, before Scotty Bowman went to Detroit, Yzerman was widely and rightly considered an extremely talented but ultimately one-dimensional scoring machine. He was more comparable to Jari Kurri than Wayne Gretzky. He had a great deal more promise than that, though, and Scotty Bowman helped him to realize this potential and become an all-around player. This took a lot from Yzerman, because if you look at his stats, they dropped drastically from 92-93 (pre-Bowman) to 95-96 (his first non-injury-year post-Bowman). As well his penalty minutes went up quite a bit, an indicator that he was being much more responsible in all phases of the game. Steve Yzerman was and is easily one of the top 10 players ever, IMO, but not until he became a complete hockey player and leader in the second half of his career.

posted by mikelbyl at 11:03 PM on April 02

I'd have to agree with mikelbyl. In many ways it was Scotty that brought out the best in Stevie as a team player. Of course before Scotty, Stevie didn't have much of a team to play with. It's sort of like when Chuck Daly came to the Pistons and got them to forget about trying to score records for themselves, to play defense and to think like a team. Of course Joey D. learned that from Chuck and that's why the Pistons are a great team again. As for Stevie, what can you say. He always was unselfish, but in the early days he had to do what he could to carry the team. In the 2nd half of his career though, surrounded by other good players, his stats went down because that unselfishness translated into passing the puck to the open man for the team goal and into Cups. I know there are other players out there that are/were greater, but he's a "Detriot" kind of player in the mold of Al Kaline. A "blue collar" type worker who does a professional job and expects no greatness from it, which is where his greatness comes from. There may be better in stats, but none better in being a team's soul.

posted by commander cody at 12:31 AM on April 03

The biggest injustice for Stevie was being left off the Hockey News top 50 all-time. He deserved to be in there. But not at the top. And one of the things that showed the kind of man he is, is that no one heard a peep of complaint out of him about it. To me, if you're going to have your kids idolize anyone in sports, they should idolize a sportsman like him.

posted by commander cody at 12:35 AM on April 03

Bah, whatever. He'll make the next top 50 of all time. It's kind of like how every third year "Stairway To Heaven" is the best song of all time on Q107. Inter-zeppelin years go to the Beatles or the Stones. But yeah, underrated? Hardly. An underrated player doesn't decline to play for Team Canada and still have the management say no one is allowed to wear his number.

posted by fabulon7 at 08:52 AM on April 03

Actually, it wasn't management, it was the players.

posted by wingnut4life at 07:14 PM on April 03

Steve Yzerman is the best player to ever wear the Winged Wheel whose last name isn't Howe, and that's good enough for me...

posted by MeatSaber at 04:21 AM on April 04

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