Reading the tea leaves and body language from the Ilitch-Holland presser

Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff shares his impressions from yesterday’s en Holland-and-Christopher Ilitch press conference announcing Holland’s 2-year contract extension, and Duff suggests that Holland’s job is still on the line if one reads the owner’s body language:

Does anyone really think the mess that is the current state of the Red Wings will rectify itself in two short years?

This contract doesn’t seem to be a vote of confidence for Holland as much as it appears to be one last lifeline of opportunity before he is voted off the island.

Naturally, Wings governor Chris Ilitch didn’t see it that way at all.

“When Ken and I were talking, two years is what we settled on and what we are both comfortable with,” Ilitch explained. “There’s really no magic to it. Like I said, we’ve known Ken and he has known our family and our organization for so long, length is nothing we’re really too concerned about.

“We just sort of settled on two years and felt comfortable with that, and that’s why we extended Ken for two years.”

It’s no secret that Wings co-owner Marian Ilitch, Chris’ mother, is a big Ken Holland fan, although her son may not share her fondness for Holland’s work. The two men didn’t exactly look like close pals as they shared a podium during Saturday’s announcement.

Duff continues, and I happen to disagree, though I respect Duff’s take to no end.

The young Mr. Ilitch attended a friend’s wedding a decade ago, and he was stiff. In every interview I’ve seen Christopher give, he seems a little stiff. To me, Ilitch is simply the way he is–a little disconnected and disengaged most of the time as it’s his affect.

I didn’t read much into the body language at all, instead listening to Ilitch’s praise for Holland as “the man I’d want flying the airplane,” and you can make your own judgment viewing the Red Wings’ 19-minute-long video of the presser:

 All of that being said, if Holland doesn’t deliver some tangible improvement over the next two years, I fully believe that he’ll be moved into an advisory and/or team president’s role. Duff’s spot-on there.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

15 thoughts on “Reading the tea leaves and body language from the Ilitch-Holland presser”

  1. First time I’ve actually heard Kenny say the word we’ve all been saying… Rebuild! Let us all see how this years draft plays out and if theres any way we can get out of some of these bad contracts.

  2. KH says “I’d like to think you can see the makings of where we’re going, the importance of some of the young players up front,” Holland said. “Certainly we’ve got to overhaul the defense going forward.”

    We need an overhaul? What? 50% of the players drafted since Dylan Larkin have been defensemen. None of these are slated to be top line defensemen? We want these talent evaluators selecting the same going forward? Jeeze, sigh…

      1. I thought you were going to say,
        Help us Mr. Chelios. You’re our only hope.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ken moves the first round pick if it ends up a #6. A later 1st and a 2nd might not be a bad thing in this draft. I imagine it would depend on who is left on the board at #6.

  3. Maybe the body language expert who has concluded that Mrazek is visibly disturbed when a teammate gets a start could use that expertise to interpret the body language of Illitch? Clear everything right up…

    1. I smell a new grudge match coming on.

      ahh….the passive aggressive assault has been launched.

    2. “How about instead of the snide remarks…”

      Your own medicine. Taste it. Tell us how it is.

      1. Mr. I appeared resigned.
        Mr. Holland looked relieved.
        The cameraman had to pee.
        The makeup lady should be fired.

  4. For the record I totally agree with George. Duff’s body language interpretation is a dead end. The words are enough for me. He states Kenny is a tremendous evaluator of talent, I guess because he was a scout once, and he helped us win 4 Cups. That says it all to me. And what it says is Illitch isn’t paying any attention to this league. Kenny’s track record at evaluating both professional and amateur talent is one of the main reasons why we’re in this mess. It’s like a mechanic from the 80’s that couldn’t adapt to all of the modern electronics in today’s vehicles. And this mechanic tinkers around but does more damager than help because he doesn’t even understand how to turn on a computer. It’s time to move on. But Illitch is hiring him because he was a good mechanic once.

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