Steve Yzerman last wore a Red Wings uniform on May 1, 2006.
It was a playoff game against the Edmonton Oilers, and Yzerman, The Captain, and his Detroit Red Wings had just been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the opening round.
Many of us in Detroit still vividly remember the picture of Yzerman leaving the ice for the last time as a player -- No. 19 clutching the blade of his hockey stick in his left hand while he solemnly took his last step as a Red Wings player and first step into retirement. A solitary figure who left the game as he played it -- in spectacular silence.
Even the rink employees realized the significance of the moment. One reached out to Yzerman for a handshake, but he kept right on walking.
Yzerman never sought or relished the limelight. Despite all his accomplishments, he always considered himself to be a part of a team, not an individual star.
I often asked Yzerman why he always downplayed his achievements, and he always responded the same way, ...