GM Holland not panicking or looking over his shoulder
Ken Holland: “I don’t think you can get discouraged or disappointed. I think you just have to go to work every day and have a plan.”
Yes, Ken Holland has presided over the Red Wings’ success of the past two decades as their general manager for three Stanley Cups and five Presidents’ Trophies and as part of the management team for another Stanley Cup and Presidents’ Trophy.
But he also worked for the organization more than 30 years ago when, like now, the Wings were one of the NHL’s worst teams.
“I was with the Red Wings in 1985 when we picked Joe Murphy first overall,” Holland told www.thehockeynews.com. “That was my first year as a scout with the Red Wings. It’s not like I haven’t been through it before.”
He also knew that, sooner or later, the team would have to pay for that success of the 1990s and 2000s.
“We were 25 years in the playoffs, four Stanley Cups, six Presidents’ Trophies and numerous Red Wing players going to the Hall of Fame,” Holland said. “And at some point in time, you pay the price and spend some time rebuilding.”
He knows that injuries have made the Wings’ immediate situation – 0-5-2 to start the season after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning – that much worse.
“We’re off to a hard start, but we’ve been hit hard on the back end by injuries,” Holland said. “It’s been a great opportunity for some of our young defenseman. (Mike) Green has been out the whole time, I think (Jonathan) Ericsson played one pre-season game. The four kids on defense have had a chance to get a feel for what the NHL is all about.”
But he is not discouraged.
“I understand the process. I’ve been in pro hockey since 1975, and I was in the Hartford organization and the Red Wing organization when they were going through tough times,” he said. “I don’t think you can get discouraged or disappointed. I think you just have to go to work every day and have a plan. Try to make more good decisions than bad decisions. Not every decision you make is going to work out. You have to stick to your plan.”
Despite being criticized for the Red Wings’ fall and a few questionable contracts, Holland signed a two-year contract after the 2017-18 season.
But Steve Yzerman’s recent actions may change things. His resignation as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s general manager and decision to return to the Detroit area and fulfill the last season of his contract as a consultant for the Lightning has many thinking that Yzerman will, ultimately, end up with Holland’s job.
Holland was asked if he is looking over his shoulder.
“I’ve been a manager in the league for 23 years. I’ve won three Stanley Cups, five Presidents’ Trophies,” he said.
“I don’t look over my shoulder.”