COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. ? Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman was asked Monday if he had an answer yet to the question everyone has had on their minds.
?I don?t know what the Whitecaps? record is right now,? said Yzerman, who was at Fifth Third Ballpark to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before West Michigan?s game against South Bend.
What about an answer to another big question?
?I don?t know who our goalie?s going to be this year, either,? he said.
Yzerman was making a rare public appearance Monday night at the Class A baseball game. He has been debating whether to return for his 23rd season with the Wings ever since they were eliminated in early May from the first round of the playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers.
Despite initially saying he would make a decision about his retirement in about a week following the Wings? dismissal, Yzerman has yet to announce his intentions.
After initially joking around Monday night, Yzerman did finally address his mind-set.
?July 1, free agency starts,? he said. ?And I thought one way or the other, I thought it may be the appropriate time to let (the Wings) know what I want to do. Sometime in the near future I?ll figure out what I?m going to do.?
He has gone back and forth with his decision, acknowledging the self-imposed July 1 deadline is ?deadline No. 5. Yeah, the other deadlines have come and gone.?
?I said at the end of the season, I think I can make a good argument for playing or for retiring,? Yzerman said. ?I debated back and forth.
?And again, I?ll probably speak with Mike Babcock once more and Kenny at some point in the next few days and go from there.?
Yzerman said general manager Ken Holland told him recently he could wait until September if necessary for Yzerman?s decision. Yzerman said he would prefer to make a decision sooner, but if he needs to he?ll take more time.
He joked before the game his ceremonial first pitch might go in the dirt. Instead it went a little high to West Michigan manager and former Tiger Matt Walbeck.
The crowd gave Yzerman a standing ovation.
NOTEBOOK: Holland is working on contacting other Red Wings and their agents this week about re-signing. He told the Free Press he planned to speak with goaltender Chris Osgood on Monday night. He said he also planned to speak with Brendan Shanahan?s agent later this week and as well as defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, in addition to Yzerman.
Don?t expect the Wings to make a decision on another goaltender until after July 1.
?I know there?s a number of goalies available by trade,? Holland said. ?We?ve got three or four identified.?
He said ?some? of the goalies they were considering were unrestricted free agents and ?one or two? are available by trade.