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Don’t expect the status to remain anything but quo at the GM’s meetings, says Wings’ Ken Holland

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to MLive’s Ansar Khan before flying to the hockey hotbed of Boca Raton, Florida to attend the NHL’s general managers’ meetings at the economically-priced The Breakers Resort (Don Cherry booked all the hotels in Saskatoon), and while the talk of reintroducing the red line, getting rid of the “trapezoid,” introducing “hybrid icing” and otherwise slowing down the game to “make it safer “(as I noted earlier today, it’s not as if the referees haven’t been told to totally ignore obstruction and interference or anything), and while perhaps the most self-critical and open-to-change fans in all of sports and the media types that border on change-because-we-have-to-engage in-self-loathing-of-the-game-we’re paid-to-cover-because-it-sucks-to go-to-games-for-free…

The Red Wings GM does not believe that there is a sufficient appetite for any changes to be made to the game’s rulebook or soon-to-be-renegotiated CBA to expect 20 of the 30 GM’s who will attend tomorrow’s meetings to agree on even implement the most subtle of tweaks, his and coach Mike Babcock’s disagreements about the red line’s reintroduction included:

“I think the game has never been better,’’ Holland said. “Parity has never been better. There’s lead changes, there’s scoring chances, there’s races for the playoffs. Last year we had seven series out of 15 go to seven games. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’‘

Eliminating the two-line pass appears to be the hottest topic. The league took the center-ice red line out of play in 2005-06, following the lockout, in an attempt to speed up the game and increase scoring. Some believe that speed has resulted in more injuries due to harder collisions. Others, like Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, feel the removal of the red line did nothing more than cause teams to stack the far blue line, in essence push back the trap. Holland and Babcock disagree on this issue.

“Mike Babcock thinks we should put the red line back in,’’ Holland said. “I understand people that want the red line back in think there’s this play now where you whip it and tip it and you go, and (bringing back the red line) is going to take that play out of the game. Mike also thinks that everybody’s stacking up the blue line. But (after a rules change), they’ll stack up the red line. I like the red line out.’‘

Holland will not push for 4-on-4 and then 3-on-3 overtime, which he introduced last season, nor is he on board with the concept of awarding 3 points for a regulation win:

“I don’t like it,’’ Holland said. “How can you have better races than we have today? You can only make it worse. All 3-2-1 is going to do is create more separation. Why do we want more separation?’‘

This, however, is interesting:

The GMs also are expected to discuss adding a coaches challenge for goaltender interference calls. The Red Wings might welcome this idea, having had numerous would-be goals disallowed over the years, mostly because of Tomas Holmstrom’s activity around the net.

All of the rule change talk being said, don’t expect 20 GM’s to get on board with anything:

“I don’t think anything needs to be done, other than maybe a couple of little tweaks,’’ Holland said. “We got a department of safety, we’ve put in Rule 48 (cracking down on hits to the head). At the end of the day, you’re going to have injuries. There is no perfect game.’‘
“Games are exciting, there’s physicality, everything you want in the game of hockey,’’ Holland said. “I’m interested in conversations about some of these topics, but I’m in no mood for change.’‘

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wedge56's avatar

If there has been someone in the NHL more abused by phantom calls than Homer or Bert…I’d like to hear it.

Posted by wedge56 on 03/12/12 at 01:45 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

The GMs also are expected to discuss adding a coaches challenge for goaltender interference calls. The Red Wings might welcome this idea, having had numerous would-be goals disallowed over the years, mostly because of Tomas Holmstrom’s activity around the net.

This.  Dear Jobu, please, this.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 03/12/12 at 02:02 AM ET


Why do we want more separation?

How about for honesty in the standings?

This manufactured parity is as bad as the manufactured drama of the shootouts.

Posted by Garth on 03/12/12 at 02:21 AM ET

Chet's avatar

the real question nobody seems to be asking is how or why there were seemingly fewer concussions in the first few years after the lockout, when the game was much more wide open or at least obstruction was called tightly. if they were underreported or poorly understood that’s one thing, but it strains credibility to suggest this recent epidemic can be blamed solely on no red line. mucking up the neutral zone by bringing the red line back, to me, is the same as ignoring obstruction. it’s unacceptable.

i’ll go one further: concussions are just an excuse GMs of lesser teams want to use to justify bringing back rules that even the playing field. the fastest, most skilled teams should win. THAT tenet is why league wide revenue and ratings are up and people want to watch. soccer style clutching and grabbing is gone, and it mustn’t be allowed back as a result of specious arguments about player safety. i’m all for player safety, don’t get me wrong, but the answer is a culture change and an understanding that shots targeting the head won’t be tolerated. it means stiffer suspensions for dirty hits (not kronwall type hits, mind you) coupled with an affirmation that this is a game of speed, skill, AND physicality.

the newest version of rule 48 hasn’t even been in effect for a season. it’s surprising and sad people are using the rash of head injuries this year to forward their own agendas. that’s how i see it, anyway. and with ken hitchcock’s st. louis blues at the top of the standings, my points cannot be totally disregarded. do we want a league of nashville- and st. louis- style teams? god, i hope not.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/12/12 at 05:54 AM ET

Jordan_NOHS's avatar

I don’t want to see the two-line pass again. I love how it has opened up the netural zone. I am in favor of hybrid icing, I think that could greatly reduce injuries. I wouldn’t mind seeing the trapezoid gone again. Let the goalies play the puck

Posted by Jordan_NOHS from Detroit, MI on 03/12/12 at 05:00 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.