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The Malik Report

Reality Hits And Detroit’s Playoff Chances

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Ken Holland knows it, and although he hates the r-words, he acknowledges the reality. The Wings have played better of late, but at the midseason break they’re 17-17-7, six points out of a wildcard spot, still an arduous climb to the playoffs.

Change came when they missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, and more change is coming. And the uncertainty is, Holland either will lead it, or be part of it. His contract expires after this season, and while Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, expressed “100 percent confidence” in Holland last spring, there’s been no talk of a new deal.

Holland wants to make this clear — he’s fine with that. He’s not campaigning for anything. If his time is almost up, he understands it. He’s been the GM here for 21 years, and in some ways, the Wings’ slide was inevitable. But he still has supreme confidence, and if you spend any time talking with him, his passion churns as strongly as ever.

“I’m enjoying the challenge, I have a ton of energy,” Holland said. “I also know it’s gonna take time, lots of time, maybe more time than some people are prepared for. I understand the fans’ frustration, I got it. When you’ve lived the things we’ve lived, the playoff runs, how exhilarating it is, it’s frustrating to not win as much. But at the same time, the system is designed for competitive balance.”

more

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings gained 41 points in 41 games the first half of the season. That's a good pace if you're a scorer, not if you're a team seeking a playoff berth.

How much better must they be in the second half to reach the postseason? Based on recent history, the Red Wings need to gain at least 52 points in the final 41 games to qualify. That would get them to 93 points, the total accumulated by the final playoff team in the Eastern Conference in 2014 and 2016, which coincidentally, was the Red Wings.

continued

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Comments

Figaro's avatar

If his time is almost up, he understands it.

 

Wasn’t your time up a while ago when the team asked you to switch jobs and let Stevie take over?

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/11/18 at 09:02 AM ET

Avatar

although he hates the r-words

Rookie?

This is a man’s league!

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 01/11/18 at 09:06 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Not going to be a Holland apologist because I believe some of the deals he has signed guys to have been near disastrous.

I read the Wojo article and buried within it was a pretty important sentence….“Some of the criticism is narrow, and fails to acknowledge Holland had a win-now mandate under Mike Ilitch…”

What the Ilitch family did to rebuild the Wings can’t be overstated, but it was a mistake to make moves to sneak into the playoffs the last few years , as it would be again this year.

Holland should not get all of the blame for this mandate from the Ilitch family.

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/11/18 at 09:57 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Change came when they missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years

There was change? What changed? This is effectively the same team with the same coach as the previous year; that missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

Oh, I nearly forgot. The change was the location where they played mediocre hockey. Silly me.

Posted by Tripwire32 from the binary digisphere on 01/11/18 at 10:07 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Holland should not get all of the blame for this mandate from the Ilitch family.

The way he went about keeping a contender, yeah, sucked. And we know how Mr. I Sr. liked to reward loyalty (Scherzer got on his bad side with the Tigers, Fedorov obviously).

So I am with you. Holland has hardly been any good, but maybe he’s been following the company line. Which just shows it’s a whole organization thing, not just Kenny and his buds.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/11/18 at 10:09 AM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

So I am with you. Holland has hardly been any good, but maybe he’s been following the company line. Which just shows it’s a whole organization thing, not just Kenny and his buds.

I’ve always felt this was the case, for sure.

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 01/11/18 at 10:51 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Tripwire32 from the binary digisphere on 01/11/18 at 10:07 AM ET

You understand hockey contract and cap structure is not football or MLB right? You can’t just blow out players, or sign at will? Hockey has a salary cap and guaranteed contracts, the most rigid roster system of all the professional sports, turning a roster over is not an overnight process. 

Change came when they missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, and more change is coming
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

The change “technically” came when they knew they were missing the playoffs and traded players at the deadline, not so much in the offseason, where Holland again, overpaid an older FA dman in Daley.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 11:18 AM ET

Avatar

First of all, Kenny makes claims like “rebuilding can take more time than fans are prepared for”. He has said this often.

What fans Kenny? Who did you ask? Do you really think fans are growing tired of you because the team isn’t competing for a Cup this year? Do you think we’re that fickle?

Sorry Kenny. Open your eyes, I mean ears. People like me are extremely frustrated because you lack a clear plan. You refuse to make tough decisions on cutting out the dead weight. Selling off UFAs like Vanek, Smith, Jurco is what every single GM would do in your situation. So I hardly consider that a “big change”. How about protecting Abby and losing Nosek. Was that also a big change? Let’s see you find a creative way to escape some of the awful contracts you handed out. Ray Shero took over a pretty awful New Jersey roster. In 2 years he turned Henrique and Larsson into Hall and Vatanen. That’s called change. He also didn’t sign guys like Daley and Witkowski but instead turned his roster over to some of his kids. Am I supposed to be impressed when you flip Green, Booth, and Mrazek at the deadline? Sorry. Let’s see you convert Howard into something useful. Let’s see you convert Nyquist or Tatar into something we need. Let’s see you shop Ericsson and see if a contender gives up a couple of 2nds for him.

Then maybe fans wouldn’t hate you as much.

Posted by fatsavage on 01/11/18 at 11:50 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 11:18 AM ET

I understand the wage rules the nhl has constrained itself to just fine. But it’s a false flag to be touting “change” when there isn’t any. My comment is addressing the statement made by the sports writer more so than anything KH has or hasn’t done. Although, there’s no denying KH has assembled and maintained a mediocre performing roster while operating under said constraints.

You are right to point out that not being in the playoffs also qualifies as change, as it’s something different from each of the previous 25 years. I overlooked that point in my haste to post my clever comment.

Posted by Tripwire32 from the binary digisphere on 01/11/18 at 11:52 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

the system is designed for competitive balance

Tell that to Stevie.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/11/18 at 12:15 PM ET

Avatar

The change “technically” came when they knew they were missing the playoffs and traded players at the deadline, not so much in the offseason, where Holland again, overpaid an older FA dman in Daley.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 11:18 AM ET

Exactly. As I wrote above…selling off pending UFAs when you are way out of the playoff race isn’t something special. Every GM would do the same thing. I might add that before Smith was traded, Kenny also offered him a contract extension that would have been another awful deal by him.

Real change would have been:
-not just trading Smith and Jurco and Vanek, but deciding that extending Tatar as an RFA was a lateral move. So he would also be shopped at last year’s deadline. That could have easily fetched a 2nd round pick, maybe even a 1st if he resigned. That’s change Kenny!
-using the expansion draft to protect Nosek and instead entice Vegas to take someone like Helm or Abby off of our hands.
-not allowing Nyquist’s NTC to kick in and trade him at the draft, particularly after you decided to extend Tatar.
-not signing another band-aid veteran d-man and instead acquiring a younger d-man who might one day form part of our core. For example, could Nyquist or Tatar + be enough for Vatanen during the summer? Remember, Anaheim only insisted on a center when 2 of theirs were injured. During the summer it was well-reported that they were seeking a scoring winger.
-now shopping Howard, given his trade value is much higher than Mrazek
-now shopping Ericsson, given that he’s had a great season and d-men like him are always coveted by contenders

That’s change folks. Kenny has done none of this!

 

Posted by fatsavage on 01/11/18 at 12:20 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

The fact that Kenny did admit defeat for once (and not holding steady at the deadline) is indeed a change. A small change. It is progress. It simply showed that he wasn’t just gunning for the playoffs, future be damned.

Now, he has one eye on the future. It’s a lazy eye that prefers slow change and building through the draft instead of making meaningful cap clearing moves, but its something.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/11/18 at 12:27 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 01/11/18 at 12:15 PM ET

As in Yzerman, he knows his team didn’t make the playoffs last year either

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 12:34 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

the system is designed for competitive balance

Tell that to Stevie.

How long did it take Yzerman to turn over the Bolts’ roster almost 100%.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/11/18 at 12:38 PM ET

Avatar

As in Yzerman, he knows his team didn’t make the playoffs last year either

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 12:34 PM ET

Funny how that happens when your star player misses 65 games with an injury.

And look how Yzerman handled this. He knew that without Stamkos they could possibly squeek into the playoffs, but then wouldn’t go anywhere. So here is what he did:

-traded Bishop rather than lose him for nothing and promoted Vasilevsky
-traded Filppula in a clever 3-way deal to create cap space
-sold Boyle as a rental since they couldn’t afford to bring him back
-sold Nesterov as a rental
-enticed Vegas to take Garrison off their hands, giving them more cap space, and ensuring they didn’t lose a younger asset
-then made a blockbuster deal of Drouin for Sergachev

So this was a legit Cup threat, suffering from a temporary setback due to injuries, and Yzerman orchestrated more change in a couple of months than Kenny has done in years.

 

Posted by fatsavage on 01/11/18 at 12:45 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

How long did it take Yzerman to turn over the Bolts’ roster almost 100%.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/11/18 at 12:38 PM ET

He inherited a team with 1/2 of its cap space available and two generational talents in Stamkos and Hedmen on entry level deals, and then picked in the top 10 3 of his first 4 seasons, just a bit of a different roster situation than a team that just missed their first playoffs in 25 years.

By the Stevie has yet to win a cup with them, looks like this might be his year, but so did last year and they didn’t even make the post season.

Just like Bowman, everyone thought he was the next coming inheriting a similar situation, and now Chicago fans want him turning over a mesquite fire with an apple in his mouth.

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 01:44 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/11/18 at 12:38 PM ET
Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 01:44 PM ET

Stevie (and Bowman for that matter) also had an amensty buyout to work with.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 01:48 PM ET

Avatar

Stevie (and Bowman for that matter) also had an amensty buyout to work with.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 01/11/18 at 01:48 PM ET

So did Kenny. He wasted his on Colaiacovo and Tootoo. Shorter deals that weren’t very damaging. Recall that Yzerman made a very bold move to use his on Vinny Lecavalier. After wasting our amnesty buyout, Kenny then buys out Weiss the next year, a cap implication that we continue to face…

Posted by fatsavage on 01/11/18 at 02:02 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.

 

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