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'This man destroyed my hockey team for a decade': Ken Holland ripped by ESPN sportscasters.


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A different take on Ken Holland going to Edmonton.  A little over-the-top but have to admit it made me smile just a bit.

 

 

There are rants — and then there’s Jim Costa of ESPN 96.1 in Michigan vitriolic and bitter unloading on Ken Holland, former GM of the Detroit Red Wings and new GM of the Edmonton Oilers.

 

On his Grand Rapids sports radio show with cohost “Big” Drew McCarthy, Costa let loose with an epic rant upon hearing that Holland was coming to Edmonton. It’s the kind of thing you might expect to hear from any number of Oilers fans about how GM Peter Chiarelli ruined the Oilers, but not what you’d expect about a GM that made the playoffs 25 years in a row and won four Stanley Cups. Nonetheless, the criticisms that Costa make are already being made from many fans in Edmonton unhappy that Holland was named GM. So here it is from the source:

“I am bitter”, Costa said. “This man destroyed my hockey team for a decade. Do I have a right to be bitter?

“I never bought the idea that Ken Holland was on board with Yzerman showing up. I think he was pushed out. And good for (owner) Chris Illitch, (new GM) Steve Yzerman and company, whoever made that final call to get Ken Holland out of the GM chair. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

“This was coming. Ken Holland was forced up and eventually forced out and it’s probably a decade too late. But this is a great day for the Detroit Red Wings… Ken Holland drove this franchise into the ground. After 2009 when they appeared in the Stanley Cup Final and lost, we have stared at a decade of incompetence. Three playoff series wins in ten years when they’ve been trying to win. Resisting a rebuild and still putting out that subpar performance, signing mediocre players to five, six and seven year deals, giving them no-trade clauses on top of it. Bought at every single deadline up until about 18 months ago, when he had no choice (but to be a seller).”

 

“You know who Ken Holland is?” Costa continued. “Ken Holland is a trust fund kid. Ken Holland inherited this big fortune. Ken Holland stepped in as a general manager in 1997, the Red Wings already a Stanley Cup champion. Scotty Bowman built that thing up. Jim Devellano built that thing up. European scouting ahead of its time built that thing up. He was handed the GM chair, just like a rich person hands down their fortune to their son or their daughter, who didn’t work for it, didn’t earn it but is now going to benefit from it. And Ken Holland would go on to win a Stanley Cup in ’98, when money was no object. (Owner) Chris Illitch opened up the pocketbook and they won it in ’02. Salary Cup comes in the mid-2000s, they ride that to a Stanley Cup, but when it was time for Ken Holland to build on his own merits, you saw what happened to him. Trust fund kid. Everything was handed to him. When he had to work for it, the franchise crumbled.”

 

“Big” Drew McCarthy then chipped in, only moderating Costa’s comments somewhat: “Ken Holland makes his exit unceremoniously from the city of Detroit. Without fanfare. Without a send off. There will be no Ken Holland parade. There will not be a Ken Holland day. But, Jim, I think a lot of people have significantly more fond memories of Ken Holland than you do. You give him zero credit for the Cups?”

 

Costa: “I can’t give him zero, but I can’t look at him as the visionary that created that dynasty. Again, he inherited a team with Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom. They were able to out and sign Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille. Dominik Hasek demanded a trade to Detroit. Everything fell in Ken Holland’s lap. I mean, it would be hard to screw that up, right? But then when those guys retired and the salary cap was put in, they said, ‘Ken Holland, part of the being the GM is signing free agents, trading for players.’ What happened? I think we saw who Ken Holland really is as a general manager. When Jimmy Devellano is not there. When Jim Nill is not there. When Hakan Andersson the (Swedish) scout is gone, what happens? What happens to Ken Holland. You realize he’s not doing great.”

 

McCarthy said he’s offered Oilers fans condolences on the amount of no-trade contracts coming Edmonton’s way. But he said that many Detroit fans would be offended by Costa’s anti-Holland rant. “Ken Holland was a great steward,” McCarthy said. “He was the steward of Gondor. He was handed a kingdom but wasn’t maybe a king. I think there’s a place where we can appreciate the goodness of Ken Holland’s tenure without elevating him to God-like status, while still recognizing that the deals he made in the last decade are what put this franchise in the rebuilding mode they are today…. Do you feel like it’s a somber day. Like they just lost this hockey genius? Like, ‘Oh no Edmonton is going to build up a dynasty now.”? No. That’s the true test of this. Is there any sadness in Hockey Town to lose out on Ken Holland’s brain? No.”

 

Costa then addressed a common defence of Holland, that he was director of Detroit’s scouting when they drafted so many of the superstars who led the team to success, including Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. “He drafted Datsyuk and Zetterberg,” Costa acknowledged. “Didn’t he kind of waste the second half of their careers?”

The rant concluded with Costa saying: “Good luck Edmonton. You’re going to need it.”

 

https://theprovince.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/this-man-destroyed-my-hockey-team-for-a-decade-ken-holland-ripped-by-espn-sportscasters/wcm/1587c8ca-70b2-4992-8227-5ae295d666a4

 

 

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I mean, I dont think he's some some hockey team building god but how can you ignore his back to back cup finals teams (one who took the cup)? He has made some questionable signings but at the end of the day hes kept this team fairly competative despite drafting in the 20s for more than a decade. 

 

Just some of his recent good moves off the top of my head

 

Got a haul for a struggling tatar

 

Drafted larkin, bertuzzi, and mantha

 

Offloaded datsyuks contract for virtually nothing 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, 73 Percent said:

I mean, I dont think he's some some hockey team building god but how can you ignore his back to back cup finals teams (one who took the cup)? He has made some questionable signings but at the end of the day hes kept this team fairly competative despite drafting in the 20s for more than a decade. 

 

Just some of his recent good moves off the top of my head

 

Got a haul for a struggling tatar

 

Drafted larkin, bertuzzi, and mantha

 

Offloaded datsyuks contract for virtually nothing 

 

 

I thought they gave up a 1st round pick for taking that cap, no?

 

I don't think Holland is as bad as he is made out by that radio guy. After 2009 cup appearance, they still made the playoffs until 2015-16 season although they never reached the conference finals. But considering they had Zetterberg and Dasyuk in their prime years, I guess I can see why some people see his track record since 2009 cup appearance to be poor. By the similar logic, Canucks since 2011 cup appearance failed to have any playoff success, like 0 series win, despite having the Sedins, Kesler, and Luongo in their prime until 2014 season and hence, Gillis was fired. If Holland was measured by playoff success, Holland failed and should have been fired like Gillis (although Gillis was worse since we didn't even win a round and missed the playoffs entirely in 2013-14).

 

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Holland was with the Wings in a management role for 32 years.  22 as GM, 3 as AGM and 7 as Head of Amateur Scouting.

 

You could argue that he was the brains behind drafting some top European players before the rest of the league.  1989:  Lidstrom, Federov, Konstantinov  1990: Kozlov  1993:  Eriksson and had set up systems that also yielded 1994: Holmstrom  1995: Kuznetsov  1998:  Datsyuk  1999:  Zetterberg 2000:  Kronwall etc......it was an advantage that wasn't sustainable as the rest of the league began mining European talent also.  They didn't hit big every year but over a decade or so they hit on more than their share of high end talent.  You could argue that Lidstrom was his golden goose and once he retired, so did the fortunes of the Red Wings.

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Kinda shows how winning a cup  (or two or three::D) can give you a long, long leash with owners and fans if you play your cards right.   I think the same thing happened in Edmonton already with the 'old boys club'.  They brought never before seen success to that market and were allowed to act with impunity for over 20 years or so.  

 

Problem is, it seems like they just replaced one old boys club in Edmonton with another.   

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I sort of agree with his theory, but I dont think Holland is a complete idiot either.  Yes, he did inherit a dynasty when he joined in 97/98 and rode that wave into the 200s.  But that 2008 Cup and the final the next year is all him.  For many years, people praised the Detroit Red Wings development system, because of playoffs streak, but I always thought that they kind of hit a hail mary with Datsyuk and Zetterberg and rode Lidstrom as long as they could.  As soon as Lidstrom retire, this franchise went downhill, which is also normal.   Kinda of just how Pittsburgh right now is on a playoff streak of 12-13 years, but they are just riding the Crosby/Malkin train.  They are bound for the same faith as Detroit in less than 5 years.

 

Kinda of funny that this guy is using Trust Fund Kid when referring to Holland.   He's kind of a Trust Fund Fan, having being spoiled by two decades of dominance from the wings.  You can't expect the Red Wings to continue the success they had in the 90s and 2000s.  They rode the wave of their dynasty as long as they could coming into the new millenium.  But now, they are just like any other franchise, bound to hit the high and lows of the cycle created by parity in the league.  

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I disagree.

 

He is more of a victim of his own success. When you have a successful franchise and the front office staff you built around starts getting poached by other teams, it means you have been doing something right. The same thing happens in the NFL where certain coaches take on younger protégés as assistants and then they move on to success elsewhere after learning under their mentor. It's going to happen and you don't get to replace these guys so easily, yet at the same time you don't want to get in the way of their careers either.

 

Or you can be a sour puss like this radio guy who, like many radio guys, are trolling for ratings. Dave Pratt playbook page 1. Try to be a lightning rod of controversy.

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3 minutes ago, RonMexico said:

I disagree.

 

He is more of a victim of his own success. When you have a successful franchise and the front office staff you built around starts getting poached by other teams, it means you have been doing something right. The same thing happens in the NFL where certain coaches take on younger protégés as assistants and then they move on to success elsewhere after learning under their mentor. It's going to happen and you don't get to replace these guys so easily, yet at the same time you don't want to get in the way of their careers either.

 

Or you can be a sour puss like this radio guy who, like many radio guys, are trolling for ratings. Dave Pratt playbook page 1. Try to be a lightning rod of controversy.

I agree. As a new GM, I'd rather take a struggling franchise and try to turn it around, than take on a successful franchise that's on the decline. Probably the worst job in the league right now is GM of the Kings....

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16 minutes ago, Crabcakes said:

Holland was with the Wings in a management role for 32 years.  22 as GM, 3 as AGM and 7 as Head of Amateur Scouting.

 

You could argue that he was the brains behind drafting some top European players before the rest of the league.  1989:  Lidstrom, Federov, Konstantinov  1990: Kozlov  1993:  Eriksson and had set up systems that also yielded 1994: Holmstrom  1995: Kuznetsov  1998:  Datsyuk  1999:  Zetterberg 2000:  Kronwall etc......it was an advantage that wasn't sustainable as the rest of the league began mining European talent also.  They didn't hit big every year but over a decade or so they hit on more than their share of high end talent.  You could argue that Lidstrom was his golden goose and once he retired, so did the fortunes of the Red Wings.

This.  After Lidstrom left so did the fortunes of the Red Wings...

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1 hour ago, khay said:

I thought they gave up a 1st round pick for taking that cap, no?

 

I don't think Holland is as bad as he is made out by that radio guy. After 2009 cup appearance, they still made the playoffs until 2015-16 season although they never reached the conference finals. But considering they had Zetterberg and Dasyuk in their prime years, I guess I can see why some people see his track record since 2009 cup appearance to be poor. By the similar logic, Canucks since 2011 cup appearance failed to have any playoff success, like 0 series win, despite having the Sedins, Kesler, and Luongo in their prime until 2014 season and hence, Gillis was fired. If Holland was measured by playoff success, Holland failed and should have been fired like Gillis (although Gillis was worse since we didn't even win a round and missed the playoffs entirely in 2013-14).

 

He did, the trade was 

 

16th overall + datsyuk

 

For

 

20th overall + vitale + 53rd overall 

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2 hours ago, timberz21 said:

Kinda of funny that this guy is using Trust Fund Kid when referring to Holland.   He's kind of a Trust Fund Fan, having being spoiled by two decades of dominance from the wings.  You can't expect the Red Wings to continue the success they had in the 90s and 2000s.  They rode the wave of their dynasty as long as they could coming into the new millenium.  But now, they are just like any other franchise, bound to hit the high and lows of the cycle created by parity in the league.  

Great point, and fantastic line.

 

Holland put off the rebuild because of the playoff streak they had going. Making the playoffs for 25 straight years is an epic feat, one that ownership, management, and the players were proud of. But as soon as that was done, Holland started doing 'rebuildy' things, and seems to be doing them well.

 

One thing I hear Benning supporters repeatedly state is that it's hard to acquire additional draft picks without assets to give up. If Detroit's team was such a mess, and their GM no good, then how did they get 21 picks in the last 2 drafts...and 13 of them in the first 3 rounds? They have another 10 picks for the 2019 draft too, 4 in the first 2 rounds. This despite not asking any of their old stars to waive to sell them off.

 

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They basically made the same mistake the Canuck's made.  

Not knowing when to rebuild and not being willing to fully commit to it when they figured it was time.

The team is a mess of bad contracts now.  Yzerman has his work cut out for hime but the job he did in Tampa certainly suggests he is the right guy.

Edmonton has the potential to be a fairly quick fix but there are some hurdles there for sure.

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16 minutes ago, D-Money said:

Great point, and fantastic line.

 

Holland put off the rebuild because of the playoff streak they had going. Making the playoffs for 25 straight years is an epic feat, one that ownership, management, and the players were proud of. But as soon as that was done, Holland started doing 'rebuildy' things, and seems to be doing them well.

 

One thing I hear Benning supporters repeatedly state is that it's hard to acquire additional draft picks without assets to give up. If Detroit's team was such a mess, and their GM no good, then how did they get 21 picks in the last 2 drafts...and 13 of them in the first 3 rounds? They have another 10 picks for the 2019 draft too, 4 in the first 2 rounds. This despite not asking any of their old stars to waive to sell them off.

 

Instead of holding on to the likes of Tatar and Nyquist, who are decent players, he traded them before they were viewed as topped out. It's what needs to be done with guys like Virtanen who are losing value as time goes on. But Canucks fans would be out with pitchforks if that happened.

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Detroit has the highest payroll in hockey. LOL

 

He inherited the powerful core that he won with.  He didn't build it.


Then he got lucky drafting some of the best deep rounders in the history of the NHL over the next decade to keep the team limping along.

 

Edmonton is in deep trouble.

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