Friday, January 26, 2007

Steve Yzerman to steer Team Canada in the World Championships?

Following Ron MacLean's hunch (tip?) on Coach's Corner a few weeks ago, it appears Steve Yzerman will in fact GM the team Hockey Canada is sending to the IIHF World Hockey Championships in April.

The recently-retired superstar, who is now a vice-president with the Detroit Red Wings, has had several conversations about the job with Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson. Hockey Canada wants Yzerman to do it. Yzerman, by all accounts, is extremely keen and when he returns from a ski vacation in Colorado, he and Nicholson are expected to nail down the final details and make it official...

Bob Mckenzie

I'm not sure what to think of this. On one hand, Yzerman has no experience at all in a position like this, the Hockey Canada management groups are becoming Old Boys Clubs (of course, I'm sure they were before, just not Old ex-Players Club), and it sounds like if Yzerman does a 'good job' (ie the team wins gold) he'll be put in place to manage Team Canada in Vancouver 2010.

But it sounds like Yzerman is enthusiastic, and if Yzerman holds the same level of self-expectations he had as a player, he is a lock put as much effort into this as anyone. I'm not convinced experience is a tremendous asset in this position anyway. This is a short tournament with a mix of cast-off NHLers that have never (or rarely) played together before, made up mostly of players between 20-27 years old. In other words, success tends to be a total crapshoot.

Few players hold the level of esteem Yzerman does, and you can bet anyone working or playing for him will be expected to give nothing less than %110.

And whats this? Although Gretzky hopes his Phoenix Coyotes will be in the playoffs when World Championship time comes around, his name has popped up as the lead head coach candidate. In other words, Hockey Canada is prepping Wayne to be the coach of 2010.

Gretzky is desperately hoping not to be involved in any way with the World Championship team because as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, he wants to be in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But it has been suggested that if Phoenix is not a playoff team, Yzerman might toy with the idea of asking Gretzky to coach the World Championship entry.

Bob Mckenzie

Again, its possibly an Old Boys Club that Hockey Canada is devloping. In 2002, many attribute Canada's success to the lack of ego and the focus on taking the best players at the time, regardless of name or past success. By positioning Gretzky to be the coach in 2010, is this philosophy truly being followed? In my opinion, bring Wayne along as an assistant, but Andy Murray or Craig MacTavish (read between the lines Oiler fans) should be the lead candidates for the head coach job.

Of course this is a lot of speculation, but I suspect that's how the situation will play out over the next few weeks, months, and maybe years.


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