Detroit Red Wings sign GM Ken Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill to 5-year extensions

Thumbnail image for 1-holland.jpgIt’s been rumored for a few weeks now, but the Detroit Red Wings will officially retain general manager Ken Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill. The team extended their contracts for five years today, according to TSN.

Holland, 54, has been the GM for Detroit since July of 1997. Since that time, Detroit has won more regular season games (588) and postseason games (99) than any other team in the NHL.

Over his tenure, the Red Wings have made the postseason each year and have won Stanley Cups in three of those seasons (1998, 2002, 2008). He was also a member of the 1997 Stanley Cup team as an assistant general manager.

Also, Detroit has produced 10 straight 100-point seasons, which is an NHL record. The team has won four Presidents’ Trophies, five Western Conference titles and nine Central Division titles.

Yeah, so Ken Holland … he’s pretty good. My guess is that Jim Nill has been a heck of an assistant too, since he’s been in that role for 13 years. (That’s hard-hitting analysis right there.)

Really, though, Holland’s run as GM of the Detroit Red Wings might be one of the greatest in sports history. The thing that truly stands out is that he’s been successful in different eras.

The Red Wings dominated in the ’90s, but they also were able to flex their money muscles in free agency and via trades with small market teams. No doubt about it, the team stood out because of their genius draft picks too (Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in the, what, billionth round? Genius!). Yet there was always this vague lack of finesse, though, since Detroit were a lot like the New York Yankees in the pre-salary cap era.

What really impresses me about Holland’s work is what he pulled off after the lockout. While Colorado and other powers declined considerably with a cap ceiling, the Red Wings made shrewd moves and rarely misfired with contracts. It only feels like they’re cheating because, frankly, they’re brighter than everyone else.

Of course, it will be interesting to see if Holland can keep working his magic when Nicklas Lidstrom retires. The talented Swede could make a lot of GMs look brilliant …

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    NHL on NBC Doubleheader: Rangers vs. Bruins; ‘Hawks vs. Ducks

    Rick Nash, Ryan Spooner
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    After a break in the schedule on Thursday, the NHL is back with a full slate of games on Friday.

    It all gets underway at 1:00 p.m. ET when the Rangers take on the Bruins on NBC.

    Boston is coming off a 3-2 OT win over Detroit on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to four games.

    Although backup Jonas Gustavsson has been between the pipes for two of the four wins, there’s no denying that Tuukka Rask‘s improved play is a big reason for Boston’s turnaround.

    The 28-year-old is 4-2-0 in his last six starts and he’s given up 13 goals (five came in one game against the Sharks) during that span.

    The Bruins have won each of their last two home games, but are still just 4-6-1 at the TD Garden this season.

    New York didn’t go into the Thanksgiving break the way they had hoped.

    The Rangers are coming off a 5-1 loss, on home ice, to the Montreal Canadiens.

    Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for the first time all season after he allowed five goals on 24 shots.

    The 33-year-old’s rough outing was presumably just a blip on the radar, as he comes into this game with a 12-4-2 record, a 1.94 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage.

    New York currently sits atop the Metropolitan division with 34 points.

    At 5:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN will broadcast the rematch of last year’s Western Conference final between the Ducks and ‘Hawks.

    After a brutal month of October that saw them win just one of their 10 games, the Ducks have been slightly better in November.

    Anaheim opened the month with a four-game winning streak only to drop their following three games. They’ve alternated wins and losses in their last eight contests.

    Ryan Getzlaf has six points in his last two games (all assists), but it’s clear that the Ducks need more from him.

    The 30-year-old has always been a pass-first player, but one goal in 19 games just isn’t cutting it.

    A guy who’s having no trouble finding the back of the net is ‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane.

    The 27-year-old comes into this game with 13 goals and 34 points in 22 games in ’15-16.

    He’s riding a 17-game point streak and has found his name on the scoresheet in all but two games this season.

    Chicago currently sits in fourth place in the Central division.


    New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 1 p.m. ET, NBC

    Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks, 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN

    For online viewing information via NBC Sports’ Live Extra, click here.

    PHT Morning Skate: General Managers around the league are happy for Bergevin

    Marc Bergevin
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    The Montreal Canadiens gave Marc Bergevin a contract extension on Wednesday and fellow General Managers around the league are happy for their colleague. (TSN)

    Are the Washington Capitals the best team in the Eastern Conference? (ESPN)

    Here’s a funny cartoon depiction of the reported feud between Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby:

    Read an excerpt from Tie Domi’s book “shift work”. In this portion of the book, he talks about some crazy times at a New York City nightclub. (ESPN)

    “It’s a lot more complicated than the net and the goalie equipment, it’s the systems that teams play, the willingness of players to block shots every part of their body.” Steven Stamkos weighs in on the decreasing number of goals in the NHL. (Tampa Tribune)

    After the first quarter of the season, Henrik Lundqvist is’s favorite to land the Vezina Trophy. (

    Matt Beleskey donated 400 pies to various charitable organizations around Boston.

    Preds place Salomaki on IR, recall Sissons

    Jake Allen, Miikka Salomaki
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    Nashville made a minor roster transaction on Thursday, putting forward Miikka Salomaki on IR while recalling fellow forward Colton Sissons from AHL Milwaukee.

    Salomaki, 22, was a fairly regular lineup presence through the of November, appearing in eight games while averaging just under 12 minutes per night. Despite his relatively small frame (5-foot-11, 198 pounds), he racked up 28 hits over that time and emerged as a decent energy guy for the Preds.

    As for Sissons, he’s about to get yet another crack with the parent club.

    Having spent most of the last two seasons in Milwaukee, Sissons — the 50th overall pick in 2012 — has seen some action with the Preds this year. He has one goal in five games with Nashville, and eight points in 12 games with the Admirals.

    Oilers say McDavid ‘ahead of schedule’ in broken clavicle recovery

    Connor McDavid
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    There hasn’t been much good news for the Oilers lately — Connor McDavid‘s hurt, Nail Yakupov‘s hurt, they’ve lost seven of their last nine — so what GM Peter Chiarelli had to say on Thursday qualified as very welcome news.

    “He’s ahead of schedule,” Chiarelli said of Connor McDavid and his broken clavicle, per Sportsnet. “He’s been in the pool, been lifting weights… There are no soft tissue injuries, which is important.

    “When you get a break like that, oftentimes there is accompanying soft tissue injuries. That slows down the recovery.”

    McDavid, who suffered the injury on Nov. 3 against Philly, was originally supposed to be sidelined until early March. But per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, there’s cautious optimism the star rookie could be back in the Edmonton lineup by “mid-to-late January.”

    But even with that cautious optimism, there’s still a long way to go.

    McDavid has yet to resume skating and is still at his parents’ home in Newmarket, Ontario. That said, he’s expected to join Edmonton soon — when the Oilers take on the Leafs in Toronto on Monday — and, according to Chiarelli, will want to get back onto the ice way sooner than expected.

    “I can tell you that when it comes time,” he said, “[McDavid] is going to want to come back a lot earlier than what we forecast internally.”