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Abel to Yzerman

Travels With Nick: Why Tick Tock Kenny Holland Might Be Under The Gun

Assume the position. Get on your hands and knees and pretend there is a ceramic bowl in front of you.  At the bottom of the bowl, beneath the cool, fetid toilet water, there is an image of a 60-year old, hook-nosed tiny man in a house dress kissing the cheek of a man-child with a stupid mustache, a Coldplay t-shirt and a headache. It’s a horrible image made worse by the vomit you violently spew into the ceramic bowl.  Again and again and even one more time for the third again.

But don’t deceive yourself into thinking that it’s the disgusting “C”-less image at the bottom of that bowl that’s making your tummy rumble. No. The cause of your discontent is what’s ailing us all.

This may be the last run for #5.

Personally? I believe he’ll be back for one more season, maybe two.

But holy hell I’ve been wrong a lot about stuff like that and I’ve got nothing to go on but my gut and a redacted transcript of a recent conversation that took place in an SUV heading to downtown Detroit from the sleepy Swedish town of Novi, MI.

Ni___las _______strom:  “I’ve given this great thought, my friends. I plan to return to our chosen club, to defend a title I know will be ours again, and to do so with the ultimate fitness and mental dexterity that has become the hallmark of gentlemen warriors like you and I. I’ve discussed this with the mother of my children and she nodded her assent, as she will continue to do because I forbid anything else. I shall return, return with the fellows to join—once again—in the noblest of all pursuits. Will you skate with me one more time, old friends?”

T___as _______strom:  “You have captain of my sack another 17 months of cricket?”

Hank Z_______berg: “Jesus Homer”

The recording is scratchy, so that might be off a little but you get the idea.

Ok. Seriously. Is Nick coming back?  We don’t know, but what we do know is that no season in history has ever felt like Lidstrom’s last like this one has.  Got it?

Everything we know points to a departure: age, family, logic.  Every mainstream story you read about the Wings on game-day features a sentence about the imminent retirement.  Every message board or blog from a rival (all, in their opinions, 29 of them) love to point out the absolute certainty that the Wings will be basement dwellars, like Denver, the day St. Nick hangs them up. 

I don’t agree with the guarantee that the Wings will no longer compete after Lidstrom leaves, but that’s a subject for another day.  Actually, some may believe the whole subject should be tabled until the giggling 8 pounder has assured us of #12 in June.

I think it’s relevant now though, and I think Tick Tock Kenny Holland and my Uncle Mike think so, too.  I think they might be viewing this run in a real special way.  Different than other special runs at the Cup.

This one could very well be Lidstrom’s Last. And if it is, all effort should be expended, no one left as “untouchable”, no cost too high.  This should be a shopping spree, an orgy of hockey talent, all waiting to bathe in the 5.7 million bucks Holland has at his disposal.

And it means you might have to set aside some hate: Perry? Selanne? Doan?

Oh stop.  Remind me about all the Chelios as a Blackhawk posters you had in your room.  None, eh?  Got it.  We hated his ass. Hated him.  And we hated Wendell Clark, while we’re at it. Right George?  Until March 23, 1999, that is.  Can you think of three more detestable players to gain at a trade deadline than those two plus Ulf Samuelsson?  Oh and, hey, how many Dallas Drake jerseys did you own when he was a Star or a Bitter Bitch of a Blue?  Verbeek? Shanahan, even? 

You hate Corey Perry?  Me too. More than any player in the league. But, brother?  You know the question and, deep down inside, you know the answer.  I might not be able to type it and just thinking about it might make you feel warm in bad places.  But you know the answer.

And so does Holland.

Khan(!!!!)

“But the trade deadline is coming. We have a lot of cap space. We’ve done a lot of drafting and developing since 2005, saving our picks. I don’t know if we have to do anything, but certainly in the next six weeks we’re going to explore.”

Coming from Ken Holland that’s a virtual proclamation that he’s going for broke. 

Parise?  Don’t wait for the summer. Buy now, big boy.  Suter? You betcha.  All in for Nick. All in for the Swede’s last run. And if he’s back next year? Well, shit Kenny? Do it again.

Oh, and another way to look at it would be like this: If Holland makes that “big splash” in about six weeks? If he makes a deal that has “Cuppy, cuppy, cuppy” written all over it?  There’s your clue that The Perfect Human is on his way out of town.  If it’s just an accent move, a minor thing to fill in the gaps and serve as insurance?  Then it’s safe to say the Captain hasn’t given Holland firm word, either way, or he’s told him flat out that another year in Detroit is in the cards. 

No reason to think TPH is making it a secret.  If this is it, the last run…then Holland already knows.  Soon enough, so will we.  Way before the parade in June.

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J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And also, to those talking about mortgaging the future I would ask if they think Detroit is appreciably worse for giving up Shawn Mattias or the two draft picks they gave up for Brad Stuart?

I would counter that with a question about whether you think Detroit is appreciably worse for not having traded Pavel Datsyuk for Roberto Luongo when they had the chance to do so?

Anecdotal stories exist on both sides here.

I’m not against giving up prospects for established talent, I just don’t think it will happen in the “big splash” way that others do. I’d absolutely package Tatar into a deal that would bring Zach Parise to Detroit, even if you GUARANTEED me that Parise would end up signing in St. Louis next season.  The thing is that if you guaranteed that, Tomas Tatar and a first-rounder is just about all I’d give up for Parise. 

And then I can guarantee that a different team would happily offer more than that for him and Detroit would lose the bidding war.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 08:08 PM ET

Avatar

Danny Cleary (Chicago) and Patrick Eaves (Ottawa)

Poorly worded on my part.  I meant drafted by Detroit.

And even still, neither of those names argue agaisnt my point.

Then you have none of that stockpiled value in your franchise and none of that purchased talent on your roster.

The other option being stockpiling “value in your franchise” and having it all leave via waivers?  Because that’s the chosen avenue Detroit has taken over the past few years.

Then, if you even decide to spend that kind of real, tangible value on a guy, you have to compete with the six or so other teams; their real, tangible value; and the potential that their GM is willing to spend WAAAY more than you even can because other teams also have prospects and they also have picks which, for the most part (except for a few cases) are almost guaranteed to be worth more than the assumed future value of the draft picks you have to trade with.

Wow, you really think very little of the value of Detroit’s assets and the negotiating abilities of Ken Holland don’t you?

This doesn’t even factor in a GM’s reticence to trade a guy to Detroit for the simple fact that fans around the league think the Red Wings are the fuching devil incarnate and that it’s entirely possible that a GM is going to cost his team real-world ticket sales by the mere fact that he answered the phone from Ken Holland instead of Stan Bowman.

Ah, so instead of trying to land good players Ken Holland should simply be afraid to be rejected, not bothering to even go for it because the other GMs might chuckle at him.

Good strategy, I’m sure that’s the strategy that has yielded Ken Holland 20 straight playoff appearances and four Stanley Cups in his tenure.

I also hate the BS about “nobody’s going to want to help Detroit get better”.  Guess what?  There’s not a GM in the league who is trying to make other teams better.  It’s every GM’s job to try and make their own team better or, at the very least, to get some kind of worth for talent that they won’t be able to sign.

Sure, Lou Lamoriello (for example) isn’t going to try to make Detroit better, but he’s also not going to try to make Chicago, Vancouver, San Jose, St Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Ottawa, Florida Phildaelphia or any other team in the league better.  BUT he also has to assess his team and see if a) they can make a real, serious run at the Cup and b) he can re-sign Zack Parise.  If the answer to those questions is no, then he might decide that he has to deal Parise and get what he can for the guy.

If Detroit gets in a bidding war with another team, they will lose.

You could be right.

You could be wrong.

Either way, the potential for a bidding war is why Ken Holland should be seriously working the phones right now and every day until the deadline so that he can possibly make a deal ahead of the deadline.

There was a lot of talk last week about GMs who were annoyed that they weren’t told Mike Cammaleri was on the block, but guess what?  If they read his comments and called up Gaulthier then maybe Cammo would be on their team instead of the Flames.  I’m willing to be that Gaulthier didn’t call Feaster and ask him to make an offer (and I also don’t believe this deal was in the works for weeks or more, as the official word says).  Feaster most likely picked up the phone and called Gaulthier with an offer.

Taking guys you drafted and developed and then signing them to cap-friendly lifetime deals that may or may not circumvent the “spirit” of the salary cap is easier to do than brokering a deal that makes your team better while not completely depleting your prospect pool, but great GMs can do both of those things.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 08:08 PM ET

Avatar

I would counter that with a question about whether you think Detroit is appreciably worse for not having traded Pavel Datsyuk for Roberto Luongo when they had the chance to do so?

Datsyuk was a Red Wing with almost three full years and a Stanley Cup under his belt at the time of that trade.  Shawn Matthias was an unsigned prospect playing in the OHL at the time.

Apples and oranges.

A better anecdotal comparison would be should the Red Wings have traded Datsyuk away at the 1999 deadline, less than a year after drafting him.  I would argue that at that time there was probably little interest in an unknown player drafter 171st overall.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 08:16 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 01/18/12 at 04:53 PM ET
Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 05:00 PM ET

Well there you go, even that trade turned out well.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 08:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Wait a minute, Garth.  When the hell did I say that I think Detroit shouldn’t TRY to land one of the big names for cheap?  Please don’t put those kinds of stupid words in my mouth.  Can we work from the assumption that 1) I’m not retarded and 2) I’m working on an assumption of what I think will actually happen and not an assumption of what I think Ken Holland is trying to do behind the scenes?  If the crux of your argument is nothing more than “WE SHOULD TRY TO GET ZACH PARISE FOR RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP!” then of course I agree with that.  Anybody would be stupid not to.

The other option being stockpiling “value in your franchise” and having it all leave via waivers?  Because that’s the chosen avenue Detroit has taken over the past few years.

Can we stop bemoaning the loss of leftover parts?  Kyle Quincey is the best guy we’ve lost to waivers and he’s a nobody. Ritola isn’t even in North America anymore.  Who were we going to get when those guys were on the trading block?  I forget that we had all of that cap space and so many buyers and the situations were exactly the same then as they are now. 

Don’t forget that “stockpiling value in your franchise” is the chosen avenue Detroit took when they kept Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, and even Nicklas Lidstrom waaaay back when.

Wow, you really think very little of the value of Detroit’s assets and the negotiating abilities of Ken Holland don’t you?

No, I think that highly of other GMs’ ability to make stupid deals that help in the short term and hurt in the long term.

Good strategy, I’m sure that’s the strategy that has yielded Ken Holland 20 straight playoff appearances and four Stanley Cups in his tenure.

Not overspending for assets?  That actually is the strategy Holland has used.  I’m glad you like it.

I also hate the BS about “nobody’s going to want to help Detroit get better”.  Guess what?  There’s not a GM in the league who is trying to make other teams better.  It’s every GM’s job to try and make their own team better or, at the very least, to get some kind of worth for talent that they won’t be able to sign.

Hate it all you want, but there’s a tangible loss when your fanbase is actually mad that you traded with “a hated rival” that a GM has to be sensitive to.

Either way, the potential for a bidding war is why Ken Holland should be seriously working the phones right now and every day until the deadline so that he can possibly make a deal ahead of the deadline.

Agreed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 08:27 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Jeebus Garth,  you’ve gone from logic to splitting hairs and using a fiery philabuster that I can’t bear to finish because it reminds me of someone who thinks that if they just say more words, then they are right.

J.J. has good points, and a few others have it right as well. We won’t be seeing a huge blockbuster deal and our prospects are definitely on the block.

Zach Parise is a free agent at the end of the season, yeah? So how much do you want to de-value our team for a rental? Doesn’t seem like Kenny. He likes rewarding the players who have signed good contracts with loyalty. If you sign for a relative “Detroit Discount” (i.e. you could have walked and made more money elsewhere) and are playing well, you’re typically not on the block unless injuries take over.

Have we started that one yet? Injuries? What happens when players get hurt…who becomes available then? Any good players out there now who are injured but are likely to return for the playoffs? Just throwing that one out there…go and get it, boys.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 01/18/12 at 08:35 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Oh and I hear Jeff Carter absolutely hates it in Columbus…And they need to rebuild. Just sayin’....

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 01/18/12 at 08:36 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

That was an awesome read guys. Great arguments from both sides I feel. One minute I was like, “yup Garth is totally right”, then the next post, “Wow, JJ is on *#$%@& point”. I feel like I just got mind *#$%@&. I want a big blockbuster name and I agree with Garth, *#$%@& it, break the bank for TPH. I also agree with JJ in that we are probably dreaming and we will get a non superstar. In the end, I really don’t give a shit what Tic Tock, or anyone else thinks, but we need a *#$%@& SNIPER. Not another awesome assist guy (I think we have like 8-10 of those) If the dude can pass/back check so be it, but I want someone who thinks shoot 97% of the time. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate Corey *#$%@& bitch ass Perry too, but if we are talking sniper…

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 01/18/12 at 09:40 PM ET

Avatar

Sorry guys, I thought it was obvious that I was employing some hyperbole.

Can we stop bemoaning the loss of leftover parts?

Sure, as soon as we stop pretending that every prospect we have is the next Pavel Datsyuk and should only be traded if we can get someone of Datsyuk’s status or better.

When the hell did I say that I think Detroit shouldn’t TRY to land one of the big names for cheap?

When you made a blanket statement that Detroit WILL get outbid on ANY deal they try to make.

Hate it all you want, but there’s a tangible loss when your fanbase is actually mad that you traded with “a hated rival” that a GM has to be sensitive to.

Of course there is, and I’ve been clear in saying that I know there’s no way in hell that Nashville trades Suter or Weber to Detroit.

But people around here like to pretend that Detroit is everyone’s rival and that there’s some conspiracy around the league in which nobody wants to make a trade with Detroit because Detroit is obviously the one true contender for a Stanley Cup and unless other teams try to be better then they might as well cancel the playoffs and award the Cup to the Red Wings at the end of the regular season.

Zach Parise is a free agent at the end of the season, yeah? So how much do you want to de-value our team for a rental?

Why would he be devaluing the team in making an attempt to win the Stanley Cup?  Seems to me that if he makes a move and lands a cup, that adds value to the franchise, not subtracts it.

He likes rewarding the players who have signed good contracts with loyalty.

Yeah, he does like doing that.  But do you know what else he does?  He re-signs players who he traded for as rentals and will even re-sign them for a little more than he wanted to in order to keep them (Brad Stuart).  What else does he do?  He signs elite players to one-year deals after liking what he sees when his team played against that player in the Stanley Cup finals (Hossa).  Also?  He signs “mercenary” players during the summer after winning the Stanley Cup if he thinks it will make his championship team even stronger (again, Hossa).  He also will sign players who were seen as busts and were traded from one team to another with the express purpose of that team buying him out (Eaves).  He and Babcock have also been very vocal, since the beginning of the season, in saying that they want another top-six forward and that Holland has specifically left cap room open to add that forward if he can.

We won’t be seeing a huge blockbuster deal and our prospects are definitely on the block.

Well Mr Holland, can you clue us into what moves you likely WILL be making so that we can stop any speculation?  Please sir?  And why do you go by Sullyosis, sir?  And why are you arguing with a fan online when you could and should be working the phones to make the team better?

Not overspending for assets?  That actually is the strategy Holland has used.

Well, it’s nice to know that you won’t be disappointed if, again this year, Detroit loses to San Jose in the second round because Mr Holland decided to go into the off-season with essentially the exact same team that couldn’t beat San Jose last year.

Or the year before.

J.J. has good points, and a few others have it right as well.

Yes, JJ has some ideas that I happen to disagree with.  Sorry, my bad, I thought this was a discussion thread.  It’s nice to know that you agree with JJ and that the two of you are “right” and that I’m “wrong” for having a differing opinion.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 09:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Well, it’s nice to know that you won’t be disappointed if, again this year, Detroit loses to San Jose in the second round because Mr Holland decided to go into the off-season with essentially the exact same team that couldn’t beat San Jose last year.

Again, words that came from your mouth, not mine.

When you made a blanket statement that Detroit WILL get outbid on ANY deal they try to make.

What I think will happen and what I want to have happen are often in conflict. Just because you don’t think you’ll win something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Otherwise there’s no point in Dallas having even taken the ice last night.

Sure, as soon as we stop pretending that every prospect we have is the next Pavel Datsyuk and should only be traded if we can get someone of Datsyuk’s status or better.

Good point.  I will say this though, I like having as many prospects as we have because I like having something of a “backup” plan for when more than half of them don’t live up to the huge expectations a lot of us are already building around them.

Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade them for the right guy.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 10:43 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

So here’s a question. Under the current rules, are conditional trades allowable?

For example: we’ll give NJ Emmerton and What’s-his-nuts-the-goalie from the WJC, plus a 2nd round pick in exchange for Parise. If Parise is re-signed, that 2nd rounder becomes a 1st round pick and also add in Landon Ferraro?

Nevermind if that’s a fair deal or not. Can trades be structured in such a way?

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/18/12 at 10:52 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I believe you can only make a few things conditional, like which particular draft pick they get.  I also think you can only make conditions based on performance or where a team finishes, not conditional on a guy signing.

There’s also a rule against it being too obvious that another team was involved in a “if you sign him for x-amount and y-years we’ll trade you these guys for him”

But GMs are definitely allowed to… you know… shoot the shit hypothetically…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 10:57 PM ET

SYF's avatar

What’s-his-nuts-the-goalie

Petr Mrazek.  And I would do that deal for Parise, Nathan.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/18/12 at 11:01 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Petr Mrazek. Yes, him. Couldn’t remember it and couldn’t be bothered to look it up. I doubt that deal would actually fly with NJ anyway, just tossin names up for the sake of example.

Thanks JJ. I thought I remembered some conditional deals, but now that you mention it, I think it was only which round picks that got adjusted.

Maybe if the league wants to make trade deadline day “more exciting” again, a little more creativity in deal making like that needs to be allowed.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/18/12 at 11:41 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I believe Shawn Mathias was part of the trade the first time the wings acquired bertussi not for brad Stuart. I think Stuart was a free agent signing.

The lang deal where the wings gave up fliechsman is the one that still stings a bit, but sometimes you roll the dice when you think you got a shot.

I never regretted trading away primeau & Coffey because shanny was ultimately a big part of 3 Cups. I hated seeing Kozlov go but we got the crazy Czech in that trade and a Cup.

The year they got chelios at the deadline the wings didn’t win it all but who remembers anders Erickson now and who remembers watching the midget hand us the hardware twice after that deal?

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/18/12 at 11:47 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

Garth I didn’t mean to come across as saying your point didn’t mean shit. I was agreeing with both of you. I would like for your ideas to be reality just as much I have the bad feeling JJ might be right too. I just want a bad ass sniper. If we have to spend a shit ton and give away prospects we would probably loose anyway, so be it. But if it comes down to just minor parts, at least Happy is playing better than last year. RSV

Off Topic: I was at the Wings/Hawks game on Saturday and every time I am at the Joe I find myself wondering if there are any other A2Y readers at the game too. (not all of us have super awesome phones) It would be cool if rinks had a bar/area called “The Interweb Zone” or some bull shit where internet dorks could meet and hang out. Maybe hand out name tags with handles on them at the door. I mean everyone says that NHL fans are the most internet savvy of all the pro sports right?

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 01/19/12 at 12:55 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Either way, the potential for a bidding war is why Ken Holland should be seriously working the phones right now and every day until the deadline so that he can possibly make a deal ahead of the deadline.
Posted by J.J. from Kansas

You maybe got it part right.  Kenny will be working the phones to drive up the prices so the other teams over pay.

I see the Wings standing pat unless there’s a serious injury among our top 4 D or top 6 F.
We have a few that could be replaced in the off-season, but they are hardly trade bait for rentals.

I will bet that if I am wrong, our new player will be nobody mentioned in this thread.
That is the way Kenny operates and why we love him.
———————————
Daniels pointed out last night that of the 28 players on the Wings roster this year, 18 of them
were drafted here.
Anyone with extra time on their hands,

I’d like to see how that stacks up to the other 29 teams.

I don’t post that often…..but I’m watching.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 01/19/12 at 03:34 AM ET

tkfergy's avatar

I know this is super late (just got home from work)

McCollum was the next big thing, now he’s playing in the ECHL
Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 03:50 PM ET

Part of this is due to the fact that if he didn’t spend some serous time in the ECHL he would have to clear waivers at the beginning of next season instead of it being delayed a season. At least that is what one of the Griffins’ Fan Club members told me when I asked about him the other day.

For example: we’ll give NJ Emmerton and What’s-his-nuts-the-goalie from the WJC, plus a 2nd round pick in exchange for Parise. If Parise is re-signed, that 2nd rounder becomes a 1st round pick and also add in Landon Ferraro?
Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/18/12 at 07:52 PM ET

I would rather trade McCollum, than Petr Mrazek. Other than that, I would like that trade even with Ferraro and the 1st instead of the 2nd.

Posted by tkfergy on 01/19/12 at 03:50 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

Jesus you bitches rock. Awesome stuff going on here.

I really don’t know which way I want Tick Tock to go. I do think it would be fuching awesome if we could land Parise or Suter, especially if we don’t have to move Wally in the process. But, and I guess this is just being optimistic about our prospects, I would be fuching pissed if we traded say Jurco, and he does end up being the next Datsyuk. Or we trade Tatar and he turns into Martin St. Louis for someone else, becomes a 90 point little pitbull of a player.

I think the big factor for Tick Tock will be if he can re-sign said big name. If he’s 100% sure Parise will re-sign for the next 10 years, I honestly think he’ll make the move. But otherwise, I’m in agreement with Gramps, Tick Tock will either stand pat or make a small addition.

But if we’re talking snipers, I know he wouldn’t address the “physical” part of the top 6 guy that’s coveted, but I personally would love to see Selanne in the Winged Wheel. Among the players who could possibly be available come deadline day, I think he’s the best bonafide sniper in that group. Put him Wally and Hank and finally that line will have someone who won’t look to pass when they get the puck in the high slot. And imagine him there on the bottom left corner on our PP?

Glad I’m not Tick Tock with these types of daily decisions to make.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 01/19/12 at 05:44 AM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

Please…

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 01/19/12 at 09:02 PM ET

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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