Last summer Yzerman took courses in financial analysis in hopes of learning to manage his money better. Yzerman may be a shade behind Gretzky and Lemieux in ability. In salary, however, the difference is measurable in millions of dollars. Yzerman is completing the fourth year of a seven-year, $2 million contract, which the Red Wings have said they will renegotiate at the end of this season.
This summer Yzerman will marry Lisa Brennan, his hometown sweetheart from Nepean, Ont. They will live in a tony home Yzerman is having built in Grosse Pointe, Mich., 100 feet from Lake St. Clair. Everything points to a long and happy career in Motown.
Last week a guy chatting with Yzerman sketched a mock solar system on a legal pad. Closest to the sun were two planets called number 99 and number 66. Farthest from the sun was a minor galaxy labeled "The Rest." Between them, closer to 99 and 66 than to The Rest, was a planet named number 19. "Obviously, every hockey player would like to be right there," said Yzerman, pointing to the uniform numbers of Gretzky and Lemieux. "Who knows, maybe if I keep improving, in a couple years...."
Expect Yzerman someday to improve his No. 3 position in the NHL cosmos. Just don't expect him to admit it once it happens.