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Abel to Yzerman

Did The Game Pass By Ken Holland?

I am about to end the Ken Holland era in Detroit at A2Y, I may post a few more items  but the majority of the Edmonton talk will be posted in the KK Hockey section.

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The knock on Holland, coming almost exclusively from people who haven’t been lucky enough to get to know the man, is that his last few seasons in Detroit are proof that the game has passed him by. So let’s take that on.

Mistake No. 1: There was a lot of loyalty in Detroit to those who helped win four Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008. In 2013-14 — the last year Johan Franzen was an NHL force; with Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom having retired — the Red Wings should have begun their rebuild.

They did not, because as long as Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were there, Holland felt a responsibility to compete for the playoffs. He shouldn’t have, but that loyalty is what gives the Red Wings one of the top cultures among NHL franchises.

“He treats people right, treats people with respect,” said a Red Wings employee of more than 20 years. “Those players he had signed, he wasn’t just going to move on from them.”

In a perfect world Holland trades Datsyuk and Zetterberg for youth and draft picks. In a perfect world the Blackhawks trade Brent Seabrook, and Boston moves on from Zdeno Chara. The NHL is not a perfect world.

Mistake No. 2: In September of 2014 they broke ground on Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit. At that time, again, Holland should have gone to his owners, the Illitch family, and told them it was time to rebuild.

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Comments

Paul's avatar

A confession from me.

Over the years in the comment section of A2Y, I have read comments like Holland must read A2Y after some of the actions he took, comments he made, etc.

I can tell you for a fact he has.  I have talked with Ken Holland a few times over the years, seemed genuinely interested in what I do, talked about the active comments at times too.

Now that he is gone, I can now release that little bit of information.

He never did give me any inside information just in case someone brings that up, but it was pretty neat to know he at least visited KK/A2Y from time to time.

Maybe trying to get the pulse of the fans?  I never asked him that.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:42 PM ET

Avatar

Did The Game Pass By Ken Holland?

yes

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:42 PM ET

That’s pretty cool, Paul.

I hope the Oilers have a blog that can positively influence Kenny. smile

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/07/19 at 01:45 PM ET

Paul's avatar

In recent tweets, Nick Cotsonika with numerous comments on Holland.

Some may agree, some may disagree.

But do read them.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:48 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Cool stuff, Paul!

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 05/07/19 at 01:52 PM ET

Paul's avatar

That’s pretty cool, Paul.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis

Yes it is, and there are many other from around the league who do the same.

You won’t read names from me at this point, but it does keep me motivated to do what I do to the best of my ability, every darn day.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:53 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Ken Daniels, for sure wink

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 05/07/19 at 01:56 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:42 PM ET

Thanks for sharing.

I think it’s probably an important reminder that, even though we all take hockey way too seriously and have strong opinions, all people involved are human beings and that it should never be personal.

Everything I’ve read about Ken Holland seems to indicate that he’s a good person and a great boss—someone who is humble, who listens, who is empathetic, who inspires loyalty and dedication from the people who work for him. Those are all great things.

Like many, I think his ability to accurately evaluate hockey talent and spend his cap dollars wisely is ... let’s say suspect at this stage. And if I had to guess, I think maybe the qualities that make him such a good “boss” are, in the end, part of what made it difficult for him to be as clear-eyed as he should have been about guys like Abby, Helm, Ericsson, DDK, etc. So ultimately I do think him moving on and Yzerman getting a clean slate is a good thing for the Red Wings.

But I also wish him well and genuinely hope he manages to turn the Oilers around. He’s got his work cut out for him, although he does have some awesome pieces to work with, too.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/19 at 02:02 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

A confession from me.

Over the years in the comment section of A2Y, I have read comments like Holland must read A2Y after some of the actions he took, comments he made, etc.

I can tell you for a fact he has.  I have talked with Ken Holland a few times over the years, seemed genuinely interested in what I do, talked about the active comments at times too.

Now that he is gone, I can now release that little bit of information.

He never did give me any inside information just in case someone brings that up, but it was pretty neat to know he at least visited KK/A2Y from time to time.

Maybe trying to get the pulse of the fans?  I never asked him that.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:42 PM ET

Wonder why he stopped taking my calls!

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 02:05 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/19 at 02:02 PM ET

I agree with all of this ^^^^^

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/07/19 at 02:12 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

In 2013-14 — the last year Johan Franzen was an NHL force; with Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom having retired — the Red Wings should have begun their rebuild.

Something else that gets lost in this whole thing is: yes, they had Dats and Z and both players wanted to win a Cup.

But they also had an owner who wasn’t going to live much longer but was as fierce a competitor as anyone.  I can’t imagine he would want to see a rebuild while he’s in his twilight years and they still have two premier centers. 

It’s a grim way to look at it, but it’s something that gets overlooked.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/07/19 at 02:24 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/19 at 02:02 PM ET

Good post Sven.

I do not think many people attacked Holland directly, I do recall seeing a few memes here and there, but I think most people were and are respectful.

I will say if Kenny did peruse this site often, he listened to the wrong people if anything said hear swayed his opinion. We are a bunch of amateurs looking from a far without knowing the nuances that are behind good or bad decisions he made. I hope this is not the case and as Paul said he was only getting the pulse of the fan base.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 02:26 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I bet Kenny has some really interesting stories and dirt from his time in Detroit.  I think many/all of us, at our own jobs, have to act at the direction of others and that means sometimes sweeping things under the rug.  I can’t imagine being in a high profile position like that (sports, politics, etc) and having people judge you only for what they see and hear at the surface.

I know this organization is too classy for anything to get out, and Holland isn’t the type to say anything, but I would love to hear some of his stories.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/07/19 at 02:35 PM ET

Avatar

Over the years in the comment section of A2Y, I have read comments like Holland must read A2Y after some of the actions he took, comments he made, etc.

I can tell you for a fact he has.

This is super interesting, Thanks for sharing with us. I bet a lot of people you wouldn’t expect come to read comments etc from this site.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 05/07/19 at 03:05 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 01:42 PM ET

This is actually really cool to hear. I wonder if Stevie will do that. With him having learned the ropes from KH and all, it seems like it’d be something he’d have seen KH doing in the office at some point.

Seriously though, best of luck to KH and the Oil moving forward.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/07/19 at 03:06 PM ET

Paul's avatar

This is super interesting, Thanks for sharing with us. I bet a lot of people you wouldn’t expect come to read comments etc from this site.

Posted by Pasha1277

True Pasha, I think I am safe to say there are more people who come here that I don’t know, than those of who I do know.

 

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 03:09 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by Pasha1277 on 05/07/19 at 03:05 PM ET

Over the years we’ve heard Daniels say something that was almost verbatim off one of our GDT, I don’t doubt he checks in once in a while

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 05/07/19 at 03:09 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Heck, there was that one time when FSD used to have computers behind them during intermission, Osgood was talking and KK website was in the background.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 03:11 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

Heck, there was that one time when FSD used to have computers behind them during intermission, Osgood was talking and KK website was in the background.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 03:11 PM ET

that I do remember

 

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 05/07/19 at 03:27 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I know Holland isn’t beloved by many here. I also had a problem with some of his signings & contracts in the past 3-5 years. However, I have no doubt that Mr. Illitch and others in the family had a hand in Kenny’s decisions. I think the family wanted to keep that bloody playoff streak going, rather than begin the rebuild process. Those decisions led us to where we’ve been the past 3 years. The rebuild should have started 5 years ago, but hindsight in 20/20 and Kenny gets blamed for a lot of things that he had less than final say on. It wasn’t all Holland’s failure. ....sermon over.

Posted by Down River Dan on 05/07/19 at 03:29 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I know I heard Ken Daniels mention KK once or twice over the years.
I wish Kenny the best of luck in his new gig. I agree with most here that his time had come and not all is/was to be blamed on him.
Thanks for sharing, Paul.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/07/19 at 03:39 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Thank you Paul, for letting us in on a very well kept secret. It seems to me at least, that Ken Holland had a great deal of respect for you and your work here. It’s also nice to know that he did have his ear to the ground as far as wanting to know how fans of the Wings really feel.

Good luck in Edmonton, KH. Except for when the Wings are in town. wink

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/07/19 at 03:45 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Osgood was talking and KK website was in the background.

This just in, ThePuckStopsHere was actually Osgood.

*mind blown*

Posted by TreKronor on 05/07/19 at 03:49 PM ET

Paul's avatar

In other news and if interested, watch the top Cellys from the Wings this past season.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 03:59 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 03:11 PM ET

I remember that, too. I also remember the shout out the CBC gave KK during a HNIC broadcast of the Wings playing the Leafs.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/07/19 at 03:59 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Ha Alan, now you are opening up a new can of worms.

League wide, KK is a destination for many media types and those involved in mgmt positions too.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/07/19 at 04:01 PM ET

Avatar

I am sure Paul you wanted to tell us this long time ago:)

As to Holland, from everything we are reading he is a great person, all the best to him!

Posted by VPalmer on 05/07/19 at 07:50 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Awesome commentary on your comprehensive site, PK!

I had posted close together this year stats that Jimmy had the second best 5x5 save percentage of all 20 goalies who played more than (20, 25) games, and in the next night or two Ken Daniels quoted the nearly exact same thing.  He or someone could have looked it up themselves, but if they had it was strange that he only mentioned it after I had posted it up online.  So KK I’m sure gets a lot of visitors, I mean by more than just us dufuses.

Posted by RWBill on 05/07/19 at 08:47 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

..... I should note that about that time Jimmy kind of fell off the cliff.

Posted by RWBill on 05/07/19 at 08:48 PM ET

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I have always been okay with KH, including a lot of the contracts people have complained about, he lost me though over Blashill.

I wish him all the best and I hope that he can turn Edmonton around.  It’s a better league with that iconic franchise in play.

Posted by Ventr on 05/07/19 at 08:54 PM ET

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I don’t believe the game has passed by old Kenny at all. Edmonton is a cesspool but I do believe as cliche it is, he will provide the stability and structure from top to bottom that is much needed there. That cap situation? That will be interesting.

“All we have to do is make the playoffs and anything can happen” Most of us laughed and rolled our eyes at that statement for a few years but its now reality to the fan base.

Posted by VFUSION on 05/07/19 at 09:01 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I’m not surprised by this at all, Paul, you’ve built a credible nexus of hockey knowledge here.  Something fans and professionals alike can rely on.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 05/07/19 at 11:24 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

I don’t hate Holland. I just got frustrated by some of his moves. I’ll have to retire the “Indiana Holland team archaeologist ” avatar now. Why archaeologist? Because he went out and found old fossils to sign to contracts.

He did do well making trades that last couple years once they didn’t make the playoffs. I was glad when Babs moved on and I think this will be good for the team as well. I guess we will see. Have fun in Edmonton Kenny. Best wishes.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 05/07/19 at 11:45 PM ET

Avatar

In September of 2014 they broke ground on Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit. At that time, again, Holland should have gone to his owners, the Illitch family, and told them it was time to rebuild.

Listen to the Red and White Authority Poscast with Shawn Horcroft to understand why a new facility was important to the rebuild. Horcroft talks specifically about the new building being used to dazzle the new guys and be a motivation tool.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 05/08/19 at 12:06 AM ET

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I think the last 3 years or so of rebuilding put some things in perspective. He made a good job trading and drafting and building up for the future IMO. He kinda proved he had it in him to rebuild - and a lot of people doubted cause he had never done it before and Wings delayed it as long as possible.
Now some NHL journalists are hinting that the decision to not rebuild in the post 2014 was not his but from the ownership.
Those are important points to consider about his work in Detroit IMO.

Posted by Dseven on 05/08/19 at 12:20 AM ET

SYF's avatar

This is the same Tick Tock who believed in 10-game evaluations:  if the Wings win 7 of 10 games, they will make the playoffs.  I do count myself among those who thought that was quite unusual because I would like the Wings to win every single game.  The Wings SHOULD win every game or at least be competitive enough to earn a point every game.  He was far more realistic about the NHL level of competition than I ever was and for that, I have come to temper my expectations.

Good luck, Mr. Holland.  I hope your Slicks suck balls against the Wings.

Posted by SYF from Jackie Redmond's blue eyes on 05/08/19 at 01:55 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com