As far as the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson is concerned, the Red Wings should raise a banner for former GM Ken Holland, who will visit Detroit on Tuesday with his current team, the Edmonton Oilers.
I’m going to disagree with one of my sportswriting idols, but offer you his reasoning anyway:
Former Red Wings general manager Ken Holland makes his first trip back to Detroit Tuesday night as a minted Hockey Hall of Famer but the current Edmonton Oilers GM won’t be getting his banner raised as a salute.
It’s a ‘players only’ club in Detroit. The Red Wings have Gordie Howe (9), Sid Abel (12), Ted Lindsay (7), Alex Delvecchio (10), Nick Lidstrom (5), Terry Sawchuk (1) and present-day general manager Steve Yzerman (19) up in the rafters at Little Caesars Arena.
So seven players, same as the Oilers. No coaches, managers, owners/builders. Even if Hall of Famers.
They don’t have coach Scotty Bowman or GM Jimmy Devellano, who preceded Holland, or owner Mike Ilitch. All in the HHOF. It isn’t like Edmonton where coach/GM Glen Sather rightfully has a banner. Also their storied play-by-play man Rod Phillips, who called over 3,500 games.
Holland, GM of three Cup winners in 1998, 2002 and 2008 and assistant to Devellano in 1997, has been back to Detroit once on Oct. 29, 2019 as the GM of the Oilers. He wasn’t a Hall of Famer in the builder category then, though. The team may salute him in some way, but no banner.
Holland himself said this to Matheson:
“In Detroit, we drafted Jimmy Howard who played 500 plus games for the Red Wings and Chris Osgood won a couple of Stanley Cups. I do think I have a feel for it and I like talking to goalies, but as I’ve been in the industry 35 years, it’s evaluating players at whatever position. It’s deciding who’s going to be good. It’s not an exact science. Look at the NHL Guide and Record Book. As a scout, you are trying to predict an 18-year-old’s future,” he said. “Scouting? It’s hard. You listen to your area scouts, a lot. In Detroit, we had a guy named Paul Crowley, who really pushed for a kid named Darren McCarty whom we got in the second round. He was a blue-collar player, enough skill,” said Holland.
How about this?
Given that Darren McCarty, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby won’t ever have their numbers retired, either, maybe the Red Wings should establish some sort of Detroit Red Wings Hall of Fame, Ring of Honor, etc., and have theme nights where they, oh, I dunno, bring in the Russian Five, the Grind Line, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Scotty Bowman, Jimmy Devellano, yes, Ken Holland, etc. and induct them.
It would sell tickets, and be a fitting, permanent honor for the people who helped build Hockeytown. And Gord knows, it would be fun.