The Detroit News’s Bob Wojnowski attended Tuesday night’s Red Wings game, and he asked the players and coach some hard questions as to whether the team or coach might “fold the tent” once they knew that their team would be “sellers”–with stern, “No” answers in the offing.
This morning, Wojo suggests that the Red Wings’ GM, Ken Holland, “needs to be daring in his dealings” to accelerate the Wings’ rebuild-on-the-fly:
Between now and Monday’s trade deadline, there will be a lot more rumors than actual movement. Petr Mrazek is gone and defenseman Mike Green almost assuredly will be gone, and beyond that, it’ll be difficult finding trade partners for decent Wings players with indecent contracts.
Now is the time for Holland to be bolder, with less to lose as the Wings slide toward a second straight playoff-less finish. Now would be the time for a risky leap, such as seeing what you can get for a tantalizing young player like Andreas Athanasiou, who has speed and skill, and also vexing defensive and effort lapses.Holland almost never makes value-for-value, equal-for-equal player trades, and for years, it wasn’t necessary. At the height of their success, the Wings simply dumped draft picks and prospects for better talent.Now, instead of playing for Cups, they’re holding out a cup, asking for picks. The only certainty before Monday is that Green, 32, a pending unrestricted free-agent, will be dealt. Most rumors are gasps in the wind, but Holland must pursue every avenue.
“If there’s nothing that makes real sense to us, and all we’re doing is helping somebody else out and not getting what we think is fair value for our players, we’ll go back to the summertime and start all over again,” Holland said. There’s gonna be some pain along the way, some decisions I have to make for the future — take one or two steps backward in the hope you’re gonna be three or four steps forward down the road.”
Patience can be painful, and also prudent. But just as there’s no guarantee a massive rebuild — with the longshot hope of landing a top lottery pick — will be fruitful, there’s no certainty in patience either. It doesn’t hurt much to trade Mrazek and Green. It remains to be seen whether Holland and the Wings are willing to stomach real pain.
I think “we’re” already stomaching some real pain on a nightly basis, but I’m also a fan who pretends to be a semi-objective blogger.