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Red Wings GM Holland defends NHL participation in Olympics

Feb 18, 2014, 9:27 AM EDT

Ken Holland Getty Images

You might assume that the 2014 Winter Olympics have been a trying experience for the Red Wings. Detroit has dealt with more than its fair share of injuries so far this season and the Winter Games have arguably further complicated that.

Nevertheless, you can list Red Wings GM Ken Holland as one of the people supporting the NHL’s continued participation in the Olympics.

“My take is, it’s a great stage to showcase our players,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “The USA-Russia game drew tremendous numbers back in the U.S. It’s best on best.”

Meanwhile, the Red Wings are still waiting for captain Henrik Zetterberg to fly back to Detroit after he was shutdown due to a herniated disk. The next step is to find out if Zetterberg needs surgery and just how long he’ll be sidelined for.

Losing Zetterberg is a huge blow for Detroit, but Holland was quick to point out that Zetterberg’s back problems predate the Olympics and he doesn’t think this setback is related to the tournament.

“Whether in the Olympics or NHL, it probably would have been the same situation,” Holland argued.

In addition to Zetterberg, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk came to the Olympics under less than ideal circumstances as he’s been playing through a playing through a lower-body injury.

Holland defended Datsyuk and pointed to former captain Steve Yzerman, who was sidelined in 2002 after playing through a knee injury in the Olympics, but returned to lead Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship that year.

“I think (Datsyuk’s) earned the right to make the decision based on how his body feels,” Holland said.

Detroit has a one-point edge in the Wild Card race with its streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances on the line.

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