Steve Yzerman: Full of Class, Just Like His (Now Former) Owner

May 26th, 2010 by Greg Eno Leave a reply »
The home of Michael Ilitch has become an historic landmark for high-profile departures.

It was almost 20 years ago—June, 1990—when Ilitch, the Red Wings owner, placed a phone call he dreaded making.

On the other end of the line, Jacques Demers was summoned to the Ilitch pad.

Shortly after Demers arrived, two grown men had a good cry.

Ilitch had bad news for Demers, who had then just completed his fourth season as Red Wings coach.

They call it the “ziggy” in Detroit. Our word for canning a coach. You can thank the old Lions coach, Joe Schmidt, for its creation.

Schmidt rendered a self-ziggy in January, 1973—the loser of a power struggle in the Lions’ front office with GM Russ Thomas.

Inside Ilitch’s home on that June day in 1990, the ziggy wasn’t self-inflicted at all.

Ilitch, ever the gentleman and consummate professional, could have told Demers over the phone that he was being released. He could have delivered the news via his agent. He could have mailed a certified letter—no e-mail or text messaging in those days.

Ilitch ...

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