Steve Yzerman, one of four players being inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame tonight, played his entire 22-year NHL career for the Detroit Red Wings. In that time, he amassed 692 goals, eighth on the all-time list, 1,063 assists, seventh all time and 1,755 points, sixth best all time. He Additionally, in 196 playoff games Yzerman contributed 70 goals, 115 assists for 185 points and won three Stanley Cups, one which he shared with fellow inductees Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Currently the general manager of the Canadian Olympic team, Yzerman spoke with Globe and Mail hockey writer Eric Duhatschek:
"We read how many potential Hall of Fame guys were on the team, but the players don't sit around ever and discuss, 'well, I think we're going into the Hall of Fame.' It never comes up in a conversation. We had a lot of high-profile guys, strong personalities. Everybody just kind of got along, had fun."
"I was always trying to improve on something, whether it was the way Joe Sakic's wrist shot or the way Mark Messier came down the off-wing and shot the puck. I was always watching these guys, trying to pick up on things they did well and improve on."
"I wore No.19 because I was a [Bryan]Trottier fan. Certainly the thought was there, 'Wow, I could go to the Islanders, and get a chance to play on the same team as Trottier and [Mike]Bossy.' They picked Pat [LaFontaine] which wasn't a surprise to me. I never looked back."
"I wasn't a top-end speed guy. It was more the quickness, the change-of-pace stuff. [Wayne]Gretzky was the best at it. You couldn't tell which direction he was going. It was hard to hone in on him. Patrick Kane today, he's a guy that's hard to pin down."
"Going back to the Olympics, I had my knee scoped. Game 2 was against the Germans and after that, my knee swelled up a lot, really became very painful. It wasn't so much really that I willed myself to play. I just thought, 'Oh, boy, I made this commitment. I told them I'm fine. I can't bail out now."
"Last year, I had a heck of a time staying healthy. I was playing on a team whose goal was to try to win the Stanley Cup. Really what it came down to is: Could I contribute enough to this team to help win the Cup? As much as I wanted to continue playing, I knew I couldn't keep up at this pace any more."