Why Detroit Red Wings’ Steve Yzerman kept quiet in prospect interviews

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Now we know: Steve Yzerman was busy.

When a handful of the top prospects in the 2020 draft spoke Sept. 24 on a Zoom call, one of the topics was how interviews went with Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings general manager. The combine that usually falls in early June — about three weeks before the draft — was canceled because of COVID-19, forcing teams to resort to online interviews to probe prospective picks’ minds. All of the information goes into a file that helps the Wings decide on their final rankings headed into the draft.

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Prospects said director of amateur scouting Kris Draper asked the questions in Zoom calls. Cole Perfetti described his interaction with Yzerman as “limited … for the most part he’s had his camera off and very quiet, just kind of listening and taking notes. He didn’t really ask anything.”

Asked about his strategy Thursday, Yzerman didn’t even hesitate.

“I was doing yoga for most of the interviews,” Yzerman said. “I was trying to not be a distraction.”

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Yzerman laughed, then admitted he couldn’t remember why he might not have taken a more active role.

“There was a lot going on,” he said. “The only reason I might have been muted at that time would have been because I was on another call or whatnot. Or, quite frankly, I’ve got an older dog that barks pretty much for no reason whatsoever, so a lot of times I was simply muting my microphone for that reason.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Men and Moments that made the Detroit Red Wings will be published in October by Triumph Books. To preorder, go to Amazon.

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