Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Stevie Y’s zinger was golden

Canada’s hockey honcho doesn’t shrink from the pressure — nor will his team

  • Print

VANCOUVER — We thought, just for a moment, that Steve Yzerman might go with the guy.

That maybe the executive director of Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team would leap over the table where the team’s big thinkers were assembled, rip off his suit jacket and have at it with a reporter wearing a Russia jacket.

Related Items

First, a little background is in order to set the scene...

Team Canada held a press conference on Saturday and, as is often the case whenever somebody from Hockey Canada speaks, there were the usual assortment of queries about the pressure to win gold and doing it on home ice.

There were questions about the status of Ryan Getzlaf, who is working on a bum ankle, about the growth in Sidney Crosby’s game and if there had been any second-guessing about the squad since it was announced in late December.

But here’s where the juicy part started.

First came this question from a foreign journalist:
"As Team Canada is only allowed to win the gold, the players must be under big pressure. So my question is, is there any psychological assistance for the players?"

Yzerman played along nicely, speaking of how NHL players handle pressure every day and blah, blah, blah.

Then came the Russian dude with a long-winded statement/question that got Stevie Y’s blood boiling:
"Steve, I wanted to follow up the wonderful question about Canada only being allowed to win gold. You know, it’s true. And it probably compounds the pressure even more that Canada is not really on top right now in the last two worlds and the juniors. And this possibly being the last chance for the top players to come together in a single tournament for Canada to prove itself. How enormous is the pressure on you right now personally?"

And it’s here where Yzerman — one of the greatest captains in NHL history — looked like he might go goofy on the guy.

Instead, he fired back this juicy answer which — in our completely biased opinion — is hall-of-fame worthy in itself:
"Well, honestly, do you think they’ll have a parade in Moscow if the Russians go home with the silver medal? They won’t," Yzerman spat. "The expectation in Russia is gold.

"The expectation in Sweden is gold. And, whether they admit it or not, the USA is in this to win a gold medal. And I won’t forget any of the other countries as well.

"All of us are playing to win the tournament, to win a gold medal. Every team that doesn’t will be disappointed."

Honestly, we were fixated on Yzerman at this point and missed whether the Russian had slinked down into his seat, but it was a verbal smackdown that also spoke volumes of the approach Canada is taking in the hockey tournament and in the Games overall.

Pressure? Yes, there’s pressure. Always is whenever a team of Canadians pull on the skates and the Maple Leaf. And — like, duh — it gets ramped up a zillion times when the tournament is right here on home ice.

Finally, watching Yzerman in action, watching the passion he still has for the Canadian uniform and for this country we were left with one question of our own we were dying to ask but never got the chance:

Wonder if he wants to suit up?

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


NDP Leadership Math with Dan Lett

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


The Winnipeg Jets currently are 4th in the Central Division: Where do you think they will finish at the end of the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google