During his year-end press conference, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said that fans need to expect less, and that if they expect Stanley Cups each year, they’re following the wrong league. In addition, he also said that expecting less “can be more exciting”, since many used to regard the regular season as “boring” and simply waited for the playoffs to start.
Someone may need to see if Holland requires medical attention due to a case of memory loss. It sounds like he thinks he’s the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Carolina Hurricanes.
The 2015-16 Red Wings season was marred by inconsistency, poor stretches of play, and an inability to put the puck in the net. Meanwhile, the trade deadline came and went without so much as a murmur of movement from Detroit management. The frustrating line that Holland used in years past of “we like our team” seemed to hold true again this year.
Unfortunately, the fans don’t really “like” their team not being able to score goals. Fans don’t really “like” sweating out the last month of the regular season waiting to see if their team will even make the playoffs, only to be knocked out in the opening round for the third consecutive year. Fans don’t really “like” being told that in a city where the mantra has been anything short of winning the Stanley Cup is a failure of a season, they should expect less and that it can be “more exciting”.
That being said, no Red Wings fan in their right mind can’t not appreciate the many great things Holland has done for the franchise in his almost 20 years at the helm. Unfortunately, most of those things came when he had the power of a blank check from Mike Illitch to spend on whatever need arose. Since the salary cap was instituted in 2005, parity has become the norm in the NHL.
Holland is correct in implying that Detroit can’t win the Stanley Cup every year – it’s just not going to happen, even in the days before the salary cap. But to seemingly imply that the fans shouldn’t expect a team that has the ability to challenge for the Cup isn’t good enough, and is an indicator of tone deafness. The fans have gotten used to winning in this city, and they won’t soon accept that not being as good a team can somehow be more “exciting”.
If Holland isn’t doing everything in his power to make sure that the Red Wings have the chance to compete for the Stanley Cup every season, then he’s managing the wrong team.