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Ken Holland: “We might not make the playoffs”

Jan 17, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT

Ken Holland

The last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup.

That was in 1990, the same year Owen Nolan was taken with the first overall draft pick and Jaromir Jagr was picked fifth.

But according to Wings general manager Ken Holland, his team’s streak of 21 straight postseason appearances could come to an end in 2013.

“There’s the possibility that we might not make the playoffs this year,” Holland said Wednesday at the Detroit Sportscasters Association luncheon, per the Detroit Free Press. “But nobody can run and hide from you any longer in this league. You can’t stockpile players. You’re constantly tweaking. You’re constantly changing. And that’s why all 16 teams that make the playoffs now can win the Stanley Cup.”

Of course, the biggest difference in Detroit this season will be the absence of Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the greatest defensemen of all time.

Holland tried to address that massive hole this summer, but ultimately failed to convince Ryan Suter to sign.

The Wings still have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg up front, but a couple of stars don’t guarantee a postseason berth.

Detroit has a handful of intriguing prospects, such as defenseman Brendan Smith and forward Gustav Nyquist. But the team’s regular-season success hasn’t made it easy to keep the system stocked.

In fact, the highest pick the Wings have had in the last 20 years is No. 19 (Jakub Kindl) in 2005.

“If we get the improvements we want, we can be the best team in the Western Conference,” Holland said, “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.”

Related: How will Detroit adjust to life without Lidstrom?

  1. redwingsfan999 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Don’t worry the wings will make the playoffs

    • thailer35 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      I’d like to see another Coyotes-Red Wings first round series. We’d have a pretty good shot of actually winning this time around.

      • michiganhockey11 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        I thought Phoenix was hoping for an entire season lockout, because they would actually make money that way…..

      • wingz101 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        I’d like to see a Coyote’s dispersal draft. That would get higher TV ratings than any Coyotes hockey game.

      • thailer35 - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        Seems there’s an overabundance of Wings fans who are bitter that their team is on their way out of being relevent and the Coyotes are becoming a consistent contender.

      • eastcoastwingette - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        @thailer35: AHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Okay, buddy, if you say so.

        While we appreciate your concern over the state of the Wings, how about you concentrate on your own team becoming more of a “consistent contender.” If we need any more unsolicited advice, I swear we’ll come to you first and you can regale us with tales of glory about How You Lost in the Western Conference Finals That One Time.

        Bitter Wings Fans Everywhere

  2. bensawesomeness - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Honest and truly, this season is a bit of a wild card for the Wings. Although losing Lidstrom is a huge blow, you still have a relatively solid goalie in Howard, who at one point carried the team, from down 0-3 against San Jose in the playoffs, to tying it up. Pavel and Zetterberg have had less than stellar seasons the last few years, along with Franzen and Filppula to a lesser extent. Injuries have plagued this team for the last 3 seasons to key players, including Howard and Datsyuk.

    Holland’s right, this team can be anywhere from the #1 spot or the 9-10 spot on the West.

    our defense took s hit, have to remember we have some of the best defensive forwards in the game too.

    • tmoore4075 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Their forwards over all are fantastic. In some ways they might better than last year. They seem to have more depth this year.

    • eastcoastwingette - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Hear, hear!

      I think we can all expect Zetterberg to really step it up this year–he’s well aware of what’s expected of him as Detroit’s captain. While he, Datsyuk, and Franzen haven’t been quite up to par the last couple years, I don’t think you can argue the same for Filppula. Last year was his break-out season.

      Our D looks scary ( and not in a good way), but as you said: we have some of the best defensive forwards in the game. If one thing’s for sure, it’s gonna be a helluva ride this year. My optimistic, entirely biased homer side thinks we can make it to the 2nd round.

  3. tmoore4075 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    In a shortened season and a young defense it wouldn’t surprise me. Hope it doesn’t happen but it wouldn’t surprise me. The positive out of it is that even if they finished just outside of the playoffs, the new draft system gives them a shot at #1.

    • thailer35 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Does that go into effect this coming draft, or the next one?

      • tmoore4075 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        From what I have read it’s for this upcoming draft.

  4. lordfletcher - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    do you remember when Suter was a lock to the Wings this summer….. that said, the Wings still have too much talent to not make the post season (pending major injuries). 2014-2015-2016 will be MUCH harder than this season.

    • tmoore4075 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      See I think it’s more this season. One, because of a very different defensive corps. A lot of inexperience and other question marks. Two, the short year. The difference between a 48 game schedule and 82 is big. The Wild were in the playoffs through 48 games last year. Wings were probably #1 in the West or at least #1 in the Central. Things can change in 34 games.

  5. beelza - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Zetterburg, Datsyuk, Brunner are way too small.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Yeah those guys will never win the cup.


  6. jakreidler - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I think the wings have a huge advantage in a shortened season. They’ve always been better early season and then slowed down in Feb/March. I mean, they were on their way to a president’s trophy last year until their traditional late season injury-ridden slump.

  7. pistolpete31 - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Great attitude Ken

    • tatdue - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      Holland’s just being honest is all….

  8. wingz101 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Seriously … Kenny knows this is still a very good team with a ton of depth at forward and decent goaltending. The defense is average, but not horrifically bad despite the presence of a few former Leafs. They will be fine. He is just covering his keester.

    BTW Kenny could have had the 20th pick overall last June but he traded that away for Kyle Quincey. So don’t believe all that sobbing drivel about contending in 2015 and 2016. Mike Ilitch LOVES to win and if they have to deal three first rounders for a stud d-man, they will – the Wings are all about winning. The Leafs and Habs can lead the league in stock piling prospects, it doesn’t mean they will ever contend again.

  9. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    The General Manager and executive Vice President is just lulling everyone to sleep to take the pressure off the boys as they adjust and tweak their dynamics following Lidstrom’s retirement. They have a playbook thicker than anybody else in the NHL with the best coach ever, Scotty Bowman, contributing. Plus, expect a slow start from the Wings as they will be without Helm and Samuelsson. The playoffs they will make.

    • thankful2 - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      ah, yeah Scotty is the greatest, but he has been with Chicago for the past five years.
      Look for Babcock to outcoach everyone this year.

  10. polegojim - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Love the Red Wings… as UNDERDOGS!!!

    Let’s roll with it.

  11. nemesys06 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    I remember when Yzerman retired thay said the same thing. there is a ton oftalent on this team and hockeytown always tends to bring the best out of players. let’s not count out our defense yet, I bet the young defensemen will surprise us all and we will have a strong play-off team.

  12. katolungile - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Back to being the “Death Things.”

  13. thankful2 - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Hey, this season it will be about the coaching. Which coach can get the most out of their team in the short season.
    Look for the veteran coaches (over 10 years NHL experience) to shine.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1716)
  2. P. Kessel (1475)
  3. M. Richards (1240)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1081)
  5. N. Backstrom (1052)