Ilitches: Losing Yzerman hard on team, Wings fans

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch say it's hard to imagine the team without Steve Yzerman.

The Hall of Famer was named Tuesday as the Tampa Bay Lightning's new general manager.

The 45-year-old ex-Detroit captain and executive replaces Brian Lawton, who was fired April 12.

Since retiring in 2006, Yzerman has worked as a vice president for the Red Wings, the only team he played for during a 22-year career in which he scored 692 goals, amassed 1,755 points and was part of three Stanley Cup winners.

The Ilitches issued a statement congratulating Yzerman but saying his departure is hard on them, the team and the city.

They say Yzerman "has been synonymous with the Red Wings" for as long as most people remember.