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Tampa names Yzerman GM

The Tampa Bay Lightning have selected Steve Yzerman as their new general manager.

Yzerman has been the vice president of hockey operations for the Detroit Red Wings, the team for which he starred for 22 seasons. He was also the architect for Team Canada's gold medal team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The 45-year-old Yzerman retired after the 2005-06 season as the sixth all-time leading scorer in NHL history with 1,755 points and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. He was a nine-time All-Star and helped Detroit to three Stanley Cup titles, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 1998.

"It was a very difficult decision to leave the Red Wings. I was very safe there. Early in retirement, being involved with Team Canada and the Olympics reaffirmed that this was a career path I wanted to take," Yzerman said at a press conference called to announce the hire.

Yzerman replaces Brian Lawton, who was fired on April 12 after two seasons.

Tampa Bay missed the playoffs for a third straight season in 2009-10, but its record of 34-36-12 was an improvement from the 2008-09 campaign. The Lightning finished 24-40-18 in Lawton's first season running the team.

"This is a long-term project for me, building a Stanley Cup team takes time. I don't have a notion that I can wave a magic wand and make the Lightning a Stanley Cup contender," Yzerman said. "There is a lot of work to be done, not only this year but in building this organization for the long-term. I have a good understanding of the challenges that lie ahead and the goals, and how to reach those goals."

Assistant general manager Tom Kurvers had been in charge of the hockey operations after Lawton's dismissal.

Others reportedly considered for the position were Ron Hextall, a goaltender for the Flyers, Nordiques and Islanders from 1986-1999 who has been working as the assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Kings, former Minnesota Wild general manager Doug Risebrough, Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton and television analyst Pierre McGuire.

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