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Ken Holland weighs in on the Red Wings-Predators series

Updated with a belated Nicklas Lidstrom interview at 9:06 PM: In lieu of a belated off-day update (which is in the works), here’s a bit of a whopper to tide you over: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to WBBL’s Huge Show on Wednesday afternoon, suggesting that the overbuilt Predators may lead the series by a 3-1 margin, but aren’t exactly dominating play in what remains a “really close series”:

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I’m not sold on the, “It’s just parity” suggestion, and I don’t know if the “veteran team” can just keep on keepin’ on and assume that they can pull off yet another miraculous comeback…

But I will say this: in the cap era, the Red Wings are the definition of an elite team by cap standards in that they make the playoffs every season, they win over half their games, they usually make multiple-round playoff pushes and they present a winning, player-friendly atmosphere which attracts players to take less than market value salaries to join the Big Red Machine.

The Red Wings will remain a cap-era contender—and can reload and adjust pretty damn quickly—under the current and probable future economic constraints which the league imposes upon its team. Holland is right that the series isn’t over, and that the Wings only have to worry about winning a road game while accentuating the positive, but if the Wings do not prevail…He will need to do some “fixing” of a team that isn’t necessarily broken, nor do the Wings need a rebuild to base his team around young 20-somethings acquired via high draft picks when this team has and will continue to make the playoffs every year despite being older, smaller and less-heralded than playoff and media darlings like the Predators.

Update: Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keagint spoke to Huge as well, and he talks about more than just Wings stuff, discussing the hazards of being a broadcaster asking hard questions and the states of the Tigers and Lions before moving on to the Wings:

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And this is late, but here’s Nicklas Lidstrom speaking to Mitch Albom on WJR on Monday:

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Lidstrom only talks about the Wings-Predators series from the perspective of a team facing a 2-1 deficit, so there are no career extension hints or anything like that. It’s a short interview, too.

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Comments

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“We’ll just continue to do what we are doing”. “Continue to do what we do”.

He is either delusional or in denial (KH that is). And this is downright scary.

If this “continue to do what we do” continues into next season the Wings will be out of playoffs after first 20 games.

I feel sorry for the players.

Posted by Alex on 04/18/12 at 11:33 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

But I will say this: in the cap era, the Red Wings are the definition of an elite team by cap standards in that they make the playoffs every season, they win over half their games, they usually make multiple-round playoff pushes and they present a winning, player-friendly atmosphere which attracts players to take less than market value salaries to join the Big Red Machine.

How many other teams can say this?  Really. 

Assuming a team can’t win the Stanley Cup every year, what other team would the Wings’ unhappy fans like us to trade places with?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/18/12 at 11:37 PM ET

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Your team is a near-perfect model of a franchise.  That’s what makes winning against you guys all the more satisfying.  While I would expect the Preds to win it in 5, it’s not going to happen if we keep playing like we are.  Beating Anaheim was all right; beating Detroit is something to remember.  I wouldn’t worry too much about one underwhelming postseason.

Posted by Predsfan from United States on 04/18/12 at 11:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I feel sorry for the GM, Kris Draper, who had to make the radio rounds, and the coaching staff, because for whatever reason, the Wings lost their mojo and self-confidence when the injury bug hit Datsyuk and Lidstrom in late February, and they never got it back.

The GM and coaching staff can only—and have to—accentuate the positive, even if the horses they’ve got in their stable aren’t getting the job done for a reason they don’t yet understand.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/18/12 at 11:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Predsfan, your team might get used to what we’re used to in expecting our team to make the Western Conference Finals every year, and by those standards, the Wings have failed pretty miserably over the last three post-seasons.

I hope you understand that while I’ll let you enjoy your dragon-slaying when it probably happens, after three years of being the dragon slain by first San Jose and now your team, this is getting old, and as you know, it sucks when your team’s playing in April but you know you’re about to spend the next four months without hockey and a full year waiting for your team to earn some measure of revenge.

That, and I for one never bought the theory that the Wings or their fans didn’t respect the Predators until very recently. Your team’s been a pain in our asses since its inception, and your team more than “arrived” by the time it was facing us in 2008. When you’ve got players like Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya happily coming to Nashville, you’ve more than “arrived.” This year, your team is probably gonna go on a long run, and I hope you enjoy it, because it’s the most fun a hockey fan can have.

I wish we Wings fans were having it instead, but them’s the breaks.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/18/12 at 11:47 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

this team has and will continue to make the playoffs every year despite being older, smaller

16 teams make the playoffs. that’s over half the league.

15 get knocked out.

apparently being part of that 15 is good enough for Ken Holland.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/18/12 at 11:49 PM ET

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Guarantee KH will say ‘We like our team’ in the offseason, re-sign Hudler, Homer and Quincey, and pray to God Lidstrom comes back.  Blech.

Posted by Ghost of Lebda on 04/18/12 at 11:52 PM ET

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the horses they’ve got in their stable aren’t getting the job done

Exactly.

Maybe this ... eh ... um….. actually signifies they need some new horses in the stable. Just saying.

Posted by Alex on 04/19/12 at 12:15 AM ET

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Guarantee KH will say ‘We like our team’

Posted by Ghost of Lebda on 04/18/12 at 09:52 PM ET

He said exactly that in this radio round.

Posted by Alex on 04/19/12 at 12:21 AM ET

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Its been downhill since the home win streak ended. I think the players put a lot of energy into that and it really has hurt down the stretch. Its almost like they played there playoffs. Ever since then there has been a lack of effort or jump in them. 

The success the organization has had in the last, lets say 21 years since thats the playoff streak, has really spoiled us as fans. Especially with the number of cups in the last 15 years. I bet if we go back, from the stretch b etween cups in 1998-2002 and between 2002-2008 this same conversation has taken place. Am I dissapointed with the team right now, you bet. But fact of the matter is they’ve lost the last, lets say 11 playoff games because that last goal last night, cmon, by a goal.  This series has really been about bounces. I can’t remember them all but 2 goals in game one. Abdelkader in game 3 by the shaft of a stick and I think there was at least one more in that game. They did get one back in game 2, and last night with that no goal. But then Hudler hitst the post, adn they come down and score. Was it a terrible defensive break down by three skaters and Howard, hell yeah.

I don’t see this team not being a contender with the personnel they have, from Illitch to the palyers, all the way down to the janitor. I don’t think Illitch will let that happen. I’d imagine he’d like to see a cup or two more before the unmentionable happens.

Posted by T on 04/19/12 at 12:57 AM ET

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This team will not change with Holland in charge.  I don’t think he has traded away a “major” player (top 7-8 forward, top 4-5 D, starting goalie) since Slava Kozlov in the summer of 2001.  For most of these guys, the only way they’re leaving Detroit is if they want to.  There is no price to pay for underperforming, no fear of losing their jobs here.  It’s becoming a country club, and I’m sick of seeing it.  Sick of the same names year after year after year after year.  Florida retooled heavily this summer, and look what it’s done for them… a return to the playoffs!  Philly traded away its core in Richards and Carter, two young, dynamic forwards who had been signed to long-term contracts… they got a really nice return in Schenn, Simmonds, Voracek, and the pick they used on Couturier, and they’re better off for it.  Here, we get Franzen’s Ghost and Zetterberg until the end of time, Kronwall too, and we’ll continue to see the likes of Ericsson, Filppula, Hudler, Cleary, Bertuzzi, Kindl, etc. for the forseeable future.
I would be straight-up shocked if Parise and/or Suter sign here this summer.  Nashville has room to re-sign Suter, and a serious Cup challenge could convince him to stay put.  If Holland didn’t like last year’s free agent contracts, wait ‘til he sees what those guys could get.  Suter could top $8M easily, maybe even $9M, and Parise wouldn’t be far behind.  I don’t think Holland will spend $17M on two players.  He’ll be content to keep the band together, and he’ll be the only one to feel that way.
Final thought:  If Lidstrom returns, it’s time for him to take a serious pay cut.  $3M is fair.

Posted by Josh from Berkley, MI on 04/19/12 at 01:02 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

...and Zetterberg until the end of time, Kronwall too…

What’s the problem with having either of these two signed for at least another half a dozen years? Kronwall is a top 2 D-man on at least half the league’s teams and will be for quite some time. Z? Well, Z is good for at least 70 points a year even whilst playing shitty for half the season. What’s the problem with that?

...Suter could top $8M easily, maybe even $9M, and Parise wouldn’t be far behind…

Ha. Wow. No. Suter won’t command much more than $6 million. Parise will probably get somewhere between $7 and $8 million.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 04/19/12 at 01:11 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

The thing that makes me more sick than anything? Holland being on the Huge show. 8 people must have listened to this.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/19/12 at 01:23 AM ET

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If Lidstrom returns, it’s time for him to take a serious pay cut.  $3M is fair.

If he does return, why is $3M fair? Right now he is still the best defenseman the Wings have by far. And number one Ds get paid in the range of $6-8M. He is already playing on a discount.

And why don’t you want to see the likes of Kindl? It is simply not possible to get tired of him yet? It was his rookie regular season and he played exactly 0 (zero) minutes in the Nashville series. He is the best “new wave” defenseman the Wings have in the system followed by Smith.

Posted by Alex on 04/19/12 at 01:34 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Regarding Holland on WBBL, it’s April, and as 97.1 the Ticket is notoriously hockey unfriendly outside of Caputo/Fithian/Riger and their official role as the Wings’ broadcaster (they take their marching orders from CBS in NYC, where hockey supposedly “doesn’t sell”—which is a theory that plagues most of Detroit’s media outlets), WDFN’s programming is now limited, WJR seems to be on a political bent and for whatever reason, WCSX and WRIF aren’t doing much in playoff format stuff.

It’s just as telling that Draper had to take an invite from the Fan 590 to speak, and keep in mind that it’s usually the radio outlet that does the asking.

In terms of possible changes, the Wings are going to move carefully due to CBA uncertainty…But we really are going to be talking about maybe one or two major moves, maybe one signing or draft trade-and-sign up front and one on defense, and then some complimentary player ones as opposed to some sort of massive overhaul.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/19/12 at 01:39 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Wow, all I can say to all of you who would replace Tick-Tock is “Since y’all don’t impress me with your track records of running any professional hockey teams, I’ll leave Mr. Holland to tend to that.”  His track record speaks for itself.  If what the Wings do on a yearly basis is somehow distasteful to you may I suggest you follow another franchise.  I hear the Preds are a real up and coming team… you might wanna jump on while the wagon passes through town.  Me?  I’m stickin’ to the only addiction that has worked in my favor for 20 years.

Posted by calquake on 04/19/12 at 01:42 AM ET

babymachine's avatar

Even though we’re down 3-1, the games have been close. You could say the games the Wings “outplayed” the Preds (Games 1,3,4) they deserved to win.

But give the plucky Preds credit. They are playing smart defensively and out waiting Detroit for breakdowns. I’ve seen it before-one team peppers another goalie endlessly, the other team gets one chance-and capitalizes.

What was up with that 2nd goal tho? I’ve rarely seen a defensive lapse like that, let alone from the Wings. Deflating doesn’t even describe it!

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 04/19/12 at 04:01 AM ET

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Posted by calquake on 04/18/12 at 11:42 PM ET

+19,000,000

I’m sick of the whining by the spoiled crybaby Wings fans. We’re lucky to have enjoyed as much success as we have. In my adult life the Wings have made the playoffs 21 years in a row (26 of the last 28) and won the Cup 4 times. That’s a hell of a lot of winning, so quit yer bitching. Only a couple of teams have come close to winning as much as the Wings have in that time. No team wins the Cup every year, and most can’t even get a chance to compete on a regular basis. Imagine being a Blues or Canucks fan, having never tasted the glory that is a Cup win. This is the real NHL, not NHL12 set on “easy.”. If you think Ken Holland is so terrible, you don’t know jack shit.

Captcha: either93. Not sure which one we’ll see on Friday. I hope it’s the piss and vinegar Mule of old.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 04/19/12 at 06:50 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Does Franzen have a no-movement clause? Trading him might be a good move. I like Franzen, but he has been lazy all season (or playing hurt). I was hoping DRW would get Yzerman back to GM when Holland retires. But the wings NEED to make some offseason moves. Getting to the postseason is not enough if they aren’t competitive in that postseason.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/19/12 at 10:46 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’m sick of the whining by the spoiled crybaby Wings fans. We’re lucky to have enjoyed as much success as we have. In my adult life the Wings have made the playoffs 21 years in a row (26 of the last 28) and won the Cup 4 times. That’s a hell of a lot of winning, so quit yer bitching. Only a couple of teams have come close to winning as much as the Wings have in that time. No team wins the Cup every year, and most can’t even get a chance to compete on a regular basis. Imagine being a Blues or Canucks fan, having never tasted the glory that is a Cup win. This is the real NHL, not NHL12 set on “easy.”. If you think Ken Holland is so terrible, you don’t know jack shit.
Captcha: either93. Not sure which one we’ll see on Friday. I hope it’s the piss and vinegar Mule of old.
Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 04/19/12 at 04:50 AM ET

This ^^^^^
I have lived through the Dead Things era and it sucked. This does not suck. Although I still like to complain about Franzen and Emmerton ;~)

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/19/12 at 10:46 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

George, I agree with your definition. The Wings have undoubtedly been the gold standard in the post-lockout NHL. And while I don’t think they’ll be missing the playoffs any time soon, I do think a hard reality is staring us in the face. It is time for changes. Now, that may be enforced upon the club regardless as a result of a likely retiring by Lidstrom.

I think regardless of Lidstrom’s plans, the Wings essentially NEED to make an impactful signing in free agency. Parise or (less likely, IMO) Suter. Don’t mistake what I’m saying about these guys, but the core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Holmstrom, and Filppula needs a shake-up. Parise would do that.

Franzen is like the Enigma (First Blood) Part 2… when he’s good there’s almost no better, but he might only be good for a period before going cold for a month. As we’ve seen, against most expectations, some of these big contracts can be moved in value-for-value trades where teams are taking equal but different risks (think the Richards, Carter, Heatley deals).

Franzen is streaky, and Justin Williams is in and out of the lineup. Throw in a pick and is there a possible deal with L.A.? The Devils have a stable of #3 or #4-type D, and are thin up front. Would they be interested in Franzen in return for one of those D? Buffalo had a lot of dysfunction and missed expectations up front. Could a change of scenery for Stafford or Roy be a possibility? The Wild must love Latendresse’s talent, but he can’t stay on the ice, could he be had?

I’m just throwing a ton of stuff at the wall for argument’s sake, just to point out that we have actually seen these big contracts move, and these are the types of situations that would be comparable to when those big deals have happened. Think of it this way, if you sign Parise as a UFA, would you trade Franzen for a risk like Latendresse or Justin Williams?

Homer will go down as one of the great Red Wings, but I think it’s time he hangs up the skates. Hudler had a very nice season and it would be foolish not to talk a new contract with him. But let’s face it, will his price be good enough? When Nyquist has shown he’s more than ready, and Tatar, even with a slightly disappointing season this year, had 20G and 50P on a team that was mediocre and often pillaged by the Wings due to injury? I have my doubts. It may be time to wave goodbye to Happy.

Emmerton, Miller, and Eaves—all have done a lot of good things, but all occupy similar territory in a lineup that also has Abdelkader and Helm deeply entrenched in grinding, speed/energy roles. And Sheahan/Jurco/Pulkinnen are on the way. If a last-round pick can be had for Emmerton, it’s time to move on. As much as it sucks given his injury, if there is a trade market for Eaves, I’d take the offers. Miller is the safest because Mr. I likes the Michigan ties, and because frankly he’s just been the best of the three.

Just a lot of thoughts… I’m not trying to spell doom and gloom because I do think the Red Wings will still be a competitive team that will make the playoffs, but I also think it is very clear that the time has come for the biggest transition since the lockout (and arguably the biggest transition we’ve seen since the ‘90s).

There’s still a lot of talent on this team—maybe more than any other team, and certainly close to the top. But I think some new blood needs to come in, and I think blood from outside the Wings pipeline is necessary, not just bringing the kids in. I think there is a passion deficit on this team. In these playoffs, when you watch the Flyers, Rangers, Sens, Panthers, Predators, Coyotes, and Blues play, you don’t see teams more talented than Detroit, but you undoubtedly see teams playing with more energy, emotion, and will. This band has been together so long, I couldn’t blame them for being tired of jamming together.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/19/12 at 11:29 AM ET

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KH’s biggest mistake. He has 2 players with a combined cap hit of 10 million locked up for the next 7 years. In a cap world if a player wants a 7-10 year contract and wont budge on it you need to let him go (even if he’s playing great at the time) its to risky.

Posted by Brians Neck on 04/19/12 at 11:58 AM ET

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Are you guys giving up on this team already? Can it not wait until they are actually eliminated please? There will be plenty of time for post mortem.

For now lets concentrate on the efforts of the upcoming game. Go wings!

Posted by puckinthehead from thunder bay on 04/19/12 at 12:23 PM ET

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Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/19/12 at 09:29 AM ET

There’s still a lot of talent on this team—maybe more than any other team, and certainly close to the top. But I think some new blood needs to come in, and I think blood from outside the Wings pipeline is necessary, not just bringing the kids in. I think there is a passion deficit on this team. In these playoffs, when you watch the Flyers, Rangers, Sens, Panthers, Predators, Coyotes, and Blues play, you don’t see teams more talented than Detroit, but you undoubtedly see teams playing with more energy, emotion, and will. This band has been together so long, I couldn’t blame them for being tired of jamming together.

This ^^^^^

+19,000,000

Posted by Alex on 04/19/12 at 01:21 PM ET

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He said exactly that in this radio round.

Yeah, but what’s he going to say?  It’s the middle of a playoff round that they could definitely be up 3-1 instead of down 3-1.  You can’t start talking about dismantling the team or anything.

Posted by Garth on 04/19/12 at 01:24 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yeah, but what’s he going to say?  It’s the middle of a playoff round that they could definitely be up 3-1 instead of down 3-1.  You can’t start talking about dismantling the team or anything.

Yep.

It’s not the GM’s job to be truthful or to panic like the fans and writers.  Even if he’s screaming to himself in the back of his own brain about how bleak he thinks it is (which I don’t believe he’s doing), it’s not going to do him or the organization any good to say anything other than what he said.

... If players need to be called out, that’s the coach’s job.

... if he needs to be called out for not putting together the right roster, then he will be, in private, where potential free agents don’t watch the GM of one of the best organizations in hockey self-flagellate and wonder to themselves what the hell kind of purpose he’s serving by saying this to the press.

Trot out the company line and lie to us, Kenny. It’s your damn job.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/19/12 at 01:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Exactly, J.J. KH and Draper had to preach the company line because it’s their job to do so. They have to present a unified, optimistic front to the public, and that’s what they did.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/19/12 at 01:56 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.