Specifically, he’s not even sure his team will make the playoffs.
At a luncheon for Detroit sports media, Holland told reporters that he wasn’t certain his team would be in the postseason this year. Keep in mind that if they do miss the playoffs, it would be the first time since 1990. Yes, 1990, when George H.W. Bush was in office and the Edmonton Oilers were Stanley Cup champions. The Red Wings’ record of making the playoffs is the longest such streak in professional sports and one that fans in Hockeytown should rightfully be proud of. Also, at 21 years, the playoffs streak is actually old enough to buy itself a drink, if it were a person.
The Red Wings have had to make some personnel changes, considering the retirements of two of the team’s Swedish stalwarts, Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. Holland tried to bring in Ryan Suter over the summer to try to fill the gap left by Lidstrom’s departure, but a different Western team won that battle.
They also haven’t really been able to utilize the pond-restocking services that other teams with worse records, or who come out on the lucky end of a big trade with draft picks added in, can use. Consider: their highest draft pick in 20 years was 19th overall, back in 2005 when Jakub Kindl came into the fold. Sure, there are some prospects in the system and the Red Wings do, of course, have the Grand Rapids Griffins as a farm team, but Holland is still worried.
The Red Wings didn’t make it too far in the playoffs last season though, which could be part of Holland’s cause for concern. In their quarterfinal round against the Nashville Predators, the incident with Shea Weber driving Henrik Zetterberg‘s head into the glass and cracking his helmet during Game 1 may have turned the tide of the series. The team bounced back and won Game 2, but that was it for them.
Holland’s trying to stay positive and look to the future, though.
“If we get the improvements we want, we can be the best team in the Western Conference…but if we don’t get them, it might be a struggle even making the playoffs. But you’ve got to understand that we’re doing this on the fly. We want to compete for the Cup this year, but we also want to compete for it in 2016,” he said.