Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman is the Tampa Bay Lightning's new general manager, taking on the task to rebuilding a franchise that's fallen on hard times since winning its only Stanley Cup championship 6 years ago.

The former Red Wings captain and executive was introduced yesterday as Brian Lawton's replacement. Lawton and coach Rick Tocchet were fired April 12 after the team went 34-36-12.

"This is a long-term project for me. I believe building a Stanley Cup caliber team takes time," Yzerman said.

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 Rangers are getting defenseman Jyri Niemi from the Islanders for a sixth-round pick in this year's draft. The trade is the first between the New York area rivals since forward Ron Stewart was dealt to the Islanders for cash on Nov. 14, 1972, during the Islanders' first season.

In other news, the Islanders have canceled plans to spend part of training camp in China, according to a report in Newsday.

The Islanders were supposed to visit owner Charles Wang's native country from Sept. 14-23.

The trip was canceled primarily due to a procedural disagreement with the players' association, according to a story posted on Newsday's website.