The narrative of Steve Yzerman’s legacy with the Detroit Red Wings forever changed when he hoisted the Stanley Cup on June 7, 1997.
Before that, it was a little more complicated. Yzerman was always considered one of the best in his generation, but couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. As contenders, Detroit fell in 1992 to Chicago in a four-game sweep. The 1993 season saw them bow out to Toronto in the first round in seven games after squandering a 2-0 series lead. And 1994 was worse, shocked by the San Jose Sharks in seven games–again in the first round.
Finally, the 1995 campaign saw Detroit capture a Western Conference Championship–only to be heavily favored and then swept by the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup final. So close, yet still so far. And patience with some fans and management was growing thin.