Ken Holland

PHT Morning Skate: The Great One raves about McDavid


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.

Is Connor McDavid the second coming of Wayne Gretzky? The Great One chuckles at the notion, but agrees McDavid is going to be a game changer. “He’s as good as I’ve seen in the last 30 years, the best player to come into the league in the last 30 years, the best to come along since (Mario) Lemieux and (Sidney) Crosby,” said Gretzky. “He can definitely change a franchise’s fortunes.” (The Edmonton Journal)

Former Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Mikael Tellqvist and Justin Pogge are currently in a head-to-head battle for the Swedish Hockey League’s save of the year. (SHL)

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Some of the sights and sounds from the first Stanley Cup playoff game in Winnipeg since 1996:

Current Lightning GM Steve Yzerman had a huge impact on the Detroit Red Wings leading the franchise to three Stanley Cups. He’s also part of the reason why Pavel Datsyuk is still a member of the Wings. In 2007 Yzerman went to Ken Holland and told the GM to “Absolutely, get it done” with regards to contract negotiations with Datsyuk. Datsyuk eventually signed a seven-year contract worth $6.7 million per season. (Tampa Bay Times)

Todd McLellan, who “mutually agreed” to part ways with the San Jose Sharks on Monday, will have no shortage of offers for his next coaching gig. According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, McLellan’s coaching style would be a perfect fit with the Edmonton Oilers. (Sportsnet)

Sidney Crosby was locked out of the Pens’ room ahead of Game 3 on Monday night:

Investigative reporter Rick Westhead has further information on Jarret Stoll’s arrest last week in Las Vegas including the police report. (TSN)

Holland: ‘I’m not against fighting’


Over the course of the last nine seasons the Detroit Red Wings have been at the bottom of the league when it comes to fighting majors in every season but one.

That doesn’t mean the team’s general manager, Ken Holland, is against fighting.

“I’m not against fighting. We prioritize that on our fourth line, we wanted hockey players versus one-dimensional players,” said Holland in a story now up on NBC SportsWorld. “Fighting is in the game. I grew up in an era as a minor league goaltender where, in the Western Hockey League with the Medicine Hat Tigers, where there was lots of fighting.

“I don’t have anything against fighting, I just want the guys that fight on my team, to be able to play. If you can fight, and you can’t play, we don’t have room for you.”

Under Holland’s leadership, Detroit has made 17 straight playoff appearances and won the Stanley Cup three times.

“You’ve got to play,” said Holland. “The game is fast. Nobody wants to take penalties. It’s a hard league to score in. You hope to get a few goals out of your fourth line. You hope they can eat some minutes off your top forwards just to rest them.”

Following the 2004-05 season the league’s fighting rate was nearly cut in half in 2005-06 — 466 in 1,230 games, or 0.38 per game — before rising back to 734 fights during the 2008-09 season (0.6 per game).

Numbers have been on the downturn since.

There were 469 bouts last season, a rate of 0.38 per game. Those numbers have decreased this season as fights happened every 0.34 games through play Tuesday (stats courtesy

“It appears those, what I call them, one dimensional players that all they can really do is fight, those types of players now are … becoming past-tense,” added Holland.

Through 32 games this season, Detroit has three fights and sits at the bottom of the league in fighting majors.

NHL watching 3-on-3 OT in the AHL closely


Much of November’s NHL general managers meetings in Toronto is used to set up a list of topics to discuss further, and more seriously, for meetings, which take place in March in Boca Raton, FL.

One of the items surely to be discussed in the new year is 3-on-3 overtime.

The American Hockey League is currently using the format and seeing excellent results.

As of Monday, only nine of the 45 OT games have required the shootout.

“We’ve always talked about the desire to get more games decided prior to the shootout,” said Blackhawks GM, Stan Bowman. “I think it’s trending that way. We’ll see how it plays out over the whole year.

“In the American Hockey League they’ve obviously had a bigger change in their numbers, but they have a little bit different format than we do.”

Hockey insider Bob McKenzie believes the league is heading in that direction:

Ken Holland is the brains behind the 3-on-3 format. He first introduced it during the Traverse City prospects tournament. Though he admits his suggestion of a dry scrape prior to the start of overtime was a bad idea, it seems like 3-on-3 may just work.

The AHL adopted the rule prior to the start of this season. Now any game going into overtime is played 4-on-4 for the first three minutes.Then at the first whistle following the three minute mark, the teams switch to 3-on-3 for the final four minutes or until a goal is scored.

“I saw it Saturday night in Grand Rapids. I thought it was fabulous,” said the Red Wings GM.

Where did the idea come from?

“Up here I guess, “ said Holland pointing to his head. “I don’t know… there’s a lot going on (in my head). Some funny stuff. We were one of two teams that didn’t vote for shootouts in 2005. I understand that we need to bring the game to a conclusion.”

Holland’s not the only one in favor of the format.

“I’ve always liked the idea,” said Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen. “I loved it in Traverse City. I haven’t seen it in the AHL, but the 3-on-3 at the Traverse City tournament was awesome in my opinion.”

The league does have its share of concerns surrounding the idea of 3-on-3 overtime.

“The hardest part to that is (the AHL) is playing, 3-on-3 or not, they’re playing an extra two minutes of overtime,” said NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell. “We’ve got to take that into consideration. We’re playing five (minutes) they’re playing seven now.

“We’re watching and we didn’t want to make any decisions based on a fifth of the season. Our managers would like to see games come to completion more in overtime.”

In the AHL, early reaction has been positive from both coaches and players.

“I couldn’t imagine as a fan watching the game, seeing so many (scoring) opportunities,” said Rockford IceHogs defenseman, T.J. Brennan. “It’s a good way to determine the game through action and I think it’ll be good for the league.”

Added Toronto Marlies coach, Gord Dineen: “At least its decided in play and its not just a 1-on-1 situation. It’s a team game and so 3-on-3 is certainly brings a lot more of the team aspect of it than a shootout.”

There certainly won’t be any rule change this season, but next season, it appears overtime could feature 3-on-3 action.

Holland: ‘Quincey, for us, he’s become a good shutdown guy’


Kyle Quincey was a Detroit Red Wings draft pick back in June 2003, but it wasn’t until a waiver claim by the L.A. Kings during the 2008-09 season that he became an NHL regular.

Now in his second stint in the Motor City, GM Ken Holland sees a more refined defenseman.

“Kyle Quincey, for us, he’s become a good shutdown guy,” Holland told the Detroit Free Press. “Early last season he finally started to settle into his role on the Detroit Red Wings….a good defensive defensemen.

“I think he played really well the last 60 games last year and he got off to a good start this year.

The 29-year-old has an assist in 11 games while averaging 17:19 in ice time this season, well under the nearly 20 minutes he’s usually seen.

“Honestly, I loved my role on Colorado and L.A., but at the same time, we never had a Niklas Kronwall on our team,” Quincey said. “So, there’s a reason why I’m not playing 25 minutes here.

“Even when I was playing those minutes and playing on the power play, what really gave me pride and joy on the ice was shutting down the other team’s lines.”

As the Free Press points out, Quincey has helped the Red Wings penalty kill, which entered Tuesday night’s action second in the league. The Wings are also seventh in goals-against at 2.27.

“We’re up there,” Quincey said. “At the same time, we need to continue to do what we’re doing. At the same time, we have to figure out how to jump up, how to chip in…when we do that, that’s hard to not win. We’re going to focus on keep shutting the door and if we can chip in that’s a bonus.”

Alfredsson progressing after tweaking back


Daniel Alfredsson has yet to make a decision on whether he will resume his playing career, but according to Detroit Red Wings general manager, Ken Holland, he’s progressing well.

Alfredsson, 41, has delayed the decision on his future due to a nagging back injury.

The former Ottawa Senators captain stopped skating altogether earlier this month after tweaking his back.

“I saw him yesterday, he said he’s feeling better every day and if he has a good weekend we’ll talk on Monday,” Holland told Michigan Live. “He’s done lots on his own. He’s in the process of evaluating himself.”

Alfredsson appeared in 68 games last season for the Red Wings scoring 18 goals and 49 points – his first season in Detroit.

After spending 17 seasons with the Senators, Alfredsson played on a one-year $3.5 million deal last season with the Red Wings.