Ken Holland certainly has a tough task ahead of him.
After he helped facilitate his replacement in the form of Steve Yzerman with the Detroit Red Wings, Holland accepted a position with the team in senior management. But that didn’t last long, as the itch to be a general manager proved too strong as he subsequently signed a five year deal with the Edmonton Oilers to take over the position with them.
But the Red Wings fan base in large part was ready to move on from Holland. Multiple questionable contracts, trades, holding on to veteran players well past their usefulness, and a seeming inability to properly manage a team in the salary cap era got under the skin of fans for years. But now that Yzerman has returned to Detroit to take over, and especially considering what he accomplished with the Tampa Bay Lightning, fans in Detroit are excited again.
“I felt it was time for different leadership,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I’m thrilled I could hand the keys to Steve Yzerman and he took control of the team and I hope one day, I’d love one day, for the Oilers and the Red Wings to meet in the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It would be exciting.”
Holland now takes over an Oilers team that has a single playoff appearance in the past 10 years, and despite having arguably the best young player in the NHL in Connor McDavid, the future direction of Northern Canada’s team isn’t exactly clear. So, how will Holland handle the pressure?
“I’m very, very familiar with the passion of the fans of the Canadian teams, of the Oilers fans,” Holland explained. “Certainly I understand that I’m coming here when they’ve made the playoffs once in 13 years and the fans are anxious, they’re frustrated. They want their team to be involved in the playoffs.”
“I’m going to come in here and do what I believe is in the best interest of the Edmonton Oilers short term and long term,” Holland continued.
“I understand there’s going to be scrutiny. That comes with the job. I had scrutiny in Detroit. And there’s going to be people who are happy with the job you’re doing and people that are unhappy. But I’ve got some experience and I’m confident that we’re going to put together an organization that, in time, is going to make the people of Edmonton proud.”