95495741Wayne Gretzky put it best: Steve Yzerman was "under the microscope" in 2010, attempting to win a gold medial in Olympic hockey on Canadian soil.; knowing that anything short of that achievement would have generations of fans dissecting his personnel decisions for decades.
Since that's out of the way, now Yzerman can approach his second foray as executive director of Team Canada with a little more comfort and confidence.
Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was named on Monday back to the position he held in 2010, when the Canadians defeated Zach Parise and Team USA in overtime to capture gold on home ice. He'll be the executive director of Team Canada for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, going back-to-back in the gig as Gretzky did in 2002 and 2006.
From the IIHF, his management group will include GMs Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues), Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), and Kevin Lowe (Edmonton Oilers), as well as president Bob Nicholson and VP Brad Pascall of Hockey Canada.
This is the same brain trust that put together the 2010 Olympic roster, save for one name: Mike Babcock, head coach of the Red Wings. Wonder if he'll return as well …
"The opportunity to work with Hockey Canada again is something I'm really excited about," Yzerman said. "I really, really enjoyed the experience in the past, and really look forward to the next few years. And hopefully all goes well and the National Hockey League players will be participating in Sochi as well."
There's the rub, of course: Will the NHL participate in Sochi? That decision will be made during collective bargaining leading up to the Sept. 15 expiration date of the CBA (and beyond), but there also needs to be agreements with the NHL/NHLPA and the IOC and the IIHF as well.
Even with that uncertainty, Yzerman's a go. Gretzky told the Montreal Gazette that the second time can be a charm:
"It's a big undertaking. It's a two-year job with long hours. But if he's up to the task, he's obviously the best guy for it. And when you've gone through it one time, you get so much experience from it. There's no surprises the second time around."
Well, outside of falling short of a media in Torino …