"Why won't you just come to Applebees with me and my friends ONE TIME Stevie Wonderful? They'll think I'm SO COOL and the chili poppers are the best!"

Tonight Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will make his first visit back the place where he built his legacy, Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Few people in hockey are as closely associated with one franchise and Stevie Y is with the Wings. His return is a pretty big deal.

Detroit knows it too – they’ve prepared a short video compilation to honour his return, and of course, his legacy.

But every quote I’ve seen from Yzerman – one of my favourite people in hockey – has tried to downplay his return. His heart’s in the right place here (maybe he doesn’t want to be seen as a distraction) but does this annoy anyone else?
“Oh man I’m so glad I’m playing well so they’ll NEVER trade me. I’m gonna win a Cup for them. U-S-A! U-S-A!”

This was a perfect example of what we call “saying all the right things.” He said stuff like ”just worried about the two points,” and ”do I think it’ll be emotional? Depends on the score of the game.”

Really? The score of one hockey game will affect your emotions more than returning to a building where 18,000 people who adore you are going to celebrate you?

But we do this in hockey. We see what he said as the proper, professional things to say.

Why? Why is it that hockey players and coaches and managers are unable to say when they give a shit about something, anything?

Why can’t Phil Kessel say “damn right tonight isn’t just another game. That team traded me, and I want to make them regret it.” Why can’t Yzerman say “tonight is a huge moment for me. I can’t wait to walk in that building. I’m already emotional about it.” It’s not like GM’s need to be on their A-game during the 60 minutes of game time – he’s allowed to be human.

Really, this rant isn’t about Yzerman at all. It’s just the latest in a long line of quotes that we all read where you KNOW the guy is absolutely not telling the truth, and it’s in the interest of being professional.

I’m not saying I’d like to see players say “the refs suck, my coach is an idiot, I hate playing here.” – that stuff creates problems internally, and I’m not asking for that.

I’m just saying it’s okay to admit that you give a damn once in awhile. It’s okay to take the suit off and admit that sometimes certain things make certain games about more than two points.

It’s not a situation that’s likely to change anytime soon, so I guess this is a reminder to celebrate the rare personalities in our game who do speak the truth. On the other hand, guys like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews…I doubt we’ll ever know anything about how they really feel.

Anyway, I had to get that off my chest, and I don’t care if you liked this post or not. Nope. Just gotta keep writin’ hard. The good posts will come. I don’t read what other people write about me.