Red Wings slow, painful Yzerplan is finally starting to pay off

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

When is the rebuild going to be over for the Detroit Red Wings?

“Is the rebuild ever over?” Shawn Horcoff, the Red Wings’ director of player development since the 2016-17 season, said. “The rebuild’s only ever really over when you win the Stanley Cup. That’s my view of it. Either you’re rebuilding and trying to get better, or you’ve won the Stanley Cup.”

(So, apparently the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a 54-year rebuild …)

“The Yzerplan” is not like building a dresser from IKEA, even if many of the parts are made in Sweden. General manager Steve Yzerman said “this is going to take time” when he returned as a franchise savior in 2019, and over two years later, there is no lie detected. He inherited a rebuild and opted not to accelerate it, despite the frequent desires of his beleaguered coach to pick up the tempo in Motown.

“Obviously, these can be difficult things for a coach going through it. You see someone that can help you, and you want them here as soon as possible,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, in his seventh season in Detroit, told me this week. “It’s not always easy. I don’t always agree. But that’s why I’m a coach and Steve’s the manager.”

Such is the “Yzerplan”: Slow and steady will, in theory, eventually win the race.

Painfully slow.

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