It is no secret in Detroit that Red Wings General Manager and Executive Vice President Ken Holland will probably be exiting the organization he has been a part of since 1983 at the end of this season.
According to numerous media reports, Holland and team owner Chris Ilitch have had zero discussion about Holland’s future — which is quite noteworthy as Holland has been the franchise’s GM for 20 years and his contract expires this summer.
Holland confirmed these rumors recently in an article in the Detroit News when he stated that “I’ve had no conversation with Mrs. (Marian) Ilitch or Chris about my future.”
Holland went on to say, “At the end of season, I am sure we’re gonna sit down and have a conversation.” And from what the DSR has learned over the last ten days from two independent sources is that the conversation most likely will be this …
Holland telling the Ilitch Family that he will be leaving Detroit with an eye toward running the NHL team in Seattle whenever Jet City is granted an expansion franchise.
On December 7th, commissioner Gary Bettman officially allowed the city of Seattle to submit an application to become the league’s 32nd team in exchange for the tidy sum of $650 million. The partnership behind the major renovations to the Key Arena will now be able to start a season ticket sales pitch to the market.
The name of the conglomerate behind the drive to bring an NHL team to the Pacific Northwest is the Bonderman Group (we don’t believe they are related to the former Tiger pitcher, but Jeremy Bonderman is from Washington) and they have supposedly made it known that they want Holland to run their operation once the inevitable expansion submission is rubber stamped.
The DSR has learned that Holland has interest in running the future Nirvanas or Pearl Jams — or whatever the team will be called — which isn’t a surprise. Holland is from British Columbia and his hometown is a six-hour drive from Key Arena.
It’s also not a shock that Holland would decide to part ways with the Wings. While Holland had a tremendous working relationship with Mike Ilitch, it isn’t a huge secret that Holland doesn’t have that same affection for Chris.
In fact, I was told two years ago by a current Red Wings employee that Holland became so exasperated with Chris over the team’s future that he told his staff that Chris could “take this job and shove it” and that he would be fine moving back to Western Canada and enjoying retirement.
And that was before the playoff streak ended, before Chris’ beautiful new arena was home to plenty of empty seats in the first year of the new edifice and before many in the fan base had turned on him.
The DSR has also learned that Holland believes both Chris Ilitch and the team’s fans who are now calling for his head are extremely ungrateful for all he has accomplished in his tenure in Detroit.
His quote to the Detroit News that “I’ve been very good at what I do” seemed to be a defiant stand from a man who is not happy that his legacy is being besmirched. It’s one degree separated from calling yourself a “stable genius.”
Anyway, good luck to the people of Seattle. They’ve been waiting a long time for a professional hockey team and now they seem to be on the verge of getting said organization…and a front office executive whom the game has passed by.
Unless the new franchise is gifted Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan in their prime and Mike Ilitch’s bottomless coffer, they probably should not expect the instant success of the Vegas Golden Knights.
On the positive side, Holland should have PLENTY of his awful former signings to choose from on expansion draft day. Someone should probably ask Justin Abdelkader how he feels about rainy weather.
If nothing else, Holland’s salary cap era ineptitude combined with an expansion franchise should make for some great content. Maybe there will even a sequel to “Sleepless in Seattle” for that fan base that still misses Kevin Durant.
It won’t star Tom Hanks but it might get directed by Rob Zombie.
Can you imagine an EXPANSION team with 15 No-Movement Clauses??????
“Black Hole Sun” would have an all new meaning as well.
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