This has been on my mind for a while.
I constantly see people (mostly Detroit Red Wings fans) getting upset or in an uproar over Ken Holland’s moves or lack of production lately. The same can be said for general manager Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey. They haven’t seen the playoffs in a few years. At least Detroit has. As an eighth seed.
The case here is that everyone eventually goes down. It does not matter who you are or what you do. Everyone has to fall.
Ken Holland made Detroit years ago the place every top free agent wanted to play in a cap-less environment. They were like Chicago and Los Angeles are now. Even after the cap was put in around the 2005 lockout, they were still a powerhouse. Pavel Datsyuk was chosen in what round? Oh yeah, around the sixth round. Henrik Zetterberg was a seventh round pick. If you ask me those are probably the two best ever sixth and seventh round picks you will ever see.
Since then though the game has changed. His players have gotten older. Detroit is simply not the powerhouse it used to be and he’s clinging on to Zetterberg and Datsyuk really. Along with coach Babcock. I would say the move that crippled Holland’s team the most was Lidstrom retiring. He still had a few years left in him. They were around a fifth place team in the west with him there. Now they would be lucky to even be in eighth in the eastern conference. A player like Lidstrom is simply irreplaceable. Picture the Los Angeles Kings without Drew Doughty in the playoffs or Chicago without Duncan Keith. They would lose that fire on the blue line. It doesn’t matter who plays up front when you lose an anchor like that.
The same can be said for Lou Lamoriello. He was the best general manager in hockey in the late 90s along with Ken Holland. Brian Burke once claimed the Devils were the most well run organization in hockey. Now look at them. They cling on to more past their prime players than the Detroit Red Wings do. They passed the torch to Los Angeles and Chicago as well. They have no prospect pool or depth to speak of and the only thing going for them is getting Cory Schneider. I will admit as a Vancouver fan that that guy can play his ass off in net. He will be a top five goalie in the league soon enough. Getting rid of him was hard to take. But outside of him their roster is puke worthy.
This all shows no one stays on top forever. Coaches come and go and so do general managers. In ten years from now we may be complaining about Peter Chiarelli (Boston’s general manager) hanging on to past their prime players.