97.1 the Ticket’s Samuelssen weighs in on Ken Holland’s ‘mission’

97.1 the Ticket’s Jamie Samuelssen penned a lengthy column this morning, discussing Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s “mission” now that he’s been re-signed as Detroit’s general manager.

Samuelssen suggests that Holland is in fact attempting to maintain the “culture” of the Red Wings, over-reliance upon home-grown veterans included, until Steve Yzerman can eventually leave the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Has it worked? On the ice, the answer is obviously no. But after years of playing the short game – trading draft picks and young prospects for quick fix veterans – Holland is trying the long game. He is actually using the word “rebuild” in everyday sentences after seasons of dismissing them as too costly, too time-consuming and not nearly fruitful enough.

The Red Wings are a talent-poor organization right now, but Holland did flip Tomas Tatar for a first-round draft pick and said after the season that next year’s team would have as many as four or five new faces on it including, yes, promising prospects like Michael Rasmussen, Evgeny Svechnikov and Joe Hicketts.

Holland has been with the Red Wings since 1983 so he knows the good and the bad of the NHL. He also knows how hard it is to win and how nearly impossible it is to win consistently. I don’t believe that his goal is to make it hard on the younger players. I do think that he wants them to know just how hard it is and just how lucky they are to play for the Red Wings.

He does all this knowing that his logical successor, Yzerman, is entering the final year of his contract as the general manager for Tampa Bay, a team favored to win the Stanley Cup this spring. That’s why the two-year contract that Holland signed is notable. It gives him at least one full season to push this thing in the right direction. And either he can continue to see it through, or he can hand it over to Yzerman, who certainly knows a thing or two about the Red Wing Way.

Holland was thought to be one of the best executives in sports a decade ago. Guys like that don’t forget how to do the job. I don’t know what the next few years hold for him and given the current state of the team, it may not include a deep playoff run. So his accolades and accomplishments (ones that will certainly land him in the Hockey Hall of Fame) may be complete.

He wants to win. He knows that’s what the fans want as well. But I also think he is now driven to leave this organization so that the young players coming up know what it means to be a Red Wing. And it still means something to be a Red Wing.

Samuelssen continues, and I’ve remained impressed by the Red Wings players and even the coach’s unshakeable faith in the concept that the Red Wings’ winning culture is something that can’t be abandoned, even when you’re losing more games than you win…

But I have to disagree regarding the concept that the Tampa Bay Lightning’s GM is going to return to bring the franchise out of the wilderness. I just don’t see Yzerman leaving until the Lightning win the Stanley Cup, if he leaves Tampa Bay at all.

We can agree to disagree, of course…but I don’t see Yzerman coming back, not in a year, not two, not five and not ten.


Published by

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.

8 thoughts on “97.1 the Ticket’s Samuelssen weighs in on Ken Holland’s ‘mission’”

  1. Didn’t even read more BS from KH. Even Tom Cruise would know anything the old fart tries to do will fail as in the past 7yrs or so.

    DO something KH and stop babbling to the Media!!!

    1. There’s nothing here regarding Holland’s comments. It’s just Samuelssen speaking.

      1. “”We can agree to disagree, of course…but I don’t see Yzerman coming back, not in a year, not two, not five and not ten.””

        Thanks George, I sadly agree!

        Maybe the two year contract is to go to Seattle?
        I will continue to Dream On, LOL

  2. For Stevie to come home he would need to feel like he has nothing left to prove in Tampa and one Stanley Cup wont do that.

    In my humble opinion of course. I do not pretend to know what Yzerman thinks or have any insider information

  3. “And either he can continue to see it through, or he can hand it over to Yzerman, who certainly knows a thing or two about the Red Wing Way.”

    He was asked to hand it over to Stevie a long time ago and didn’t do it then. What possible reason do we have to believe he’d do it now(ish)?

  4. Steve Yzerman will never, ever, ever become GM of the Detroit Red Wings. The sooner people accept that, the sooner we can actually move forward as an organization. I personally think Yzerman is a brilliant mind, but there are many other candidates who could do a better job than Kenny. Maybe let’s start looking?

    1. I agree Mr FatSavage. IF?? He moves there would be a lineup of a few teams to sign him.

      Maybe Chris I is looking? Doubt it but who knows what he is thinking? The next time we hear anything from him will be in 2 years. I think Mrs I treats KH like one of her own, UGH!

      The Draft is next up and the scares me a bit with KH. That will be a lively Blog entry, for sure. I think KH would like to add 2 to 5 prospects (his thought). not sure where he would find room for his 5 ish thought?

      Last thought, the 1st games of the playoffs have been on the dirty side. Is the idea to take players out of the roster? Not a fan of this style of hockey, especially jumping to plaster the opponent into the boards.

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