Throwback Thursday: Steve Yzerman Leads the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup
On his birthday, Ultimate Autographs takes a look back at when Steve Yzerman finally led his team to a victory in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Detroit Red Wings selected Steve Yzerman with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1983 NHL Draft. Steve Yzerman finished second overall in Rookie of the Year voting and became the youngest NHL player to appear in an All-Star game since the new format was introduced in 1969.
Becoming the youngest team captain in Red Wings history, Steve Yzerman helped lead the team to their first division title in 23 years during the 1986-1987 NHL season. Steve Yzerman continued to be a focal point of the Red Wings team up until with Scotty Bowman became the head coach.
The two reportedly had a major disconnect as Bowman's stern coaching style and defense-focused mindset collided with Steve Yzerman's offensive mindset. Trade rumors swirled and it would appear the team would have to move on from Steve Yzerman but eventually, he and Bowman helped form one of the most dominant runs in franchise history.
The Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1995 but were defeated by the New Jersey Devils. The next year, the Red Wings came close to reaching the Stanley Cup finals again but were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche. With his critics voicing their opinion on Steve Yzerman's leadership abilities, he and the Red Wings captured the Stanley Cup in 1997 by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings repeated their success the following season, sweeping the Washington Capitals in the 1998 Stanley Cup finals.
Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings would go on to capture another Stanley Cup in 2002 after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes.
Throughout his Detroit Red Wings career, Steve Yzerman became known as one of the greatest two-way forwards in league history and finished his career at No. 8 in NHL history for regular season goals and sixth overall in scoring. He also holds the record for longest tenure as a captain of a single team at 20 years (1,303 games). His name rests at No. 2 overall for the majority of Detroit Red Wings records, second only to NHL great Gordie Howe.
(Cover photo courtesy of ESPN/AP)