Ilitch has ‘100% confidence’ in Wings GM Holland

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Ken Holland isn’t going anywhere.

The Red Wings’ general manager has the total support of the Ilitch family, said Chris Ilitch, president and chief executive officer of Ilitch Holdings Inc., Tuesday in a brief interview with beat reporters before the annual team picture.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland talks to the media Tuesday.

“We have 100 percent confidence in Ken Holland,” Ilitch said. “He’s an excellent general manager and executive vice president and we’ve got a lot of confidence in the future.”

Holland, 61, has been the Red Wings’ general manager since 1997 and has guided the team to four Stanley Cups. He has one more year left on his contract.

This season saw the end of the Red Wings’ streak of 25 consecutive appearances in the playoffs.

Ilitch said he and his mother Marian Ilitch are “exceptionally passionate” about the Red Wings, and are “very, very competitive.

“I know Ken Holland has that same passion to win and build a championship team again,” Ilitch said. “I know our players have that passion; we  certainly have it as an ownership group, and frankly we’re all disappointed in this season from an ownership perspective.

“We’re 100 percent confident in Ken Holland as our general manager into the future and we’re excited about our team into the future because of the young prospects we have.

“But make no mistake, our goal is very clear. It is to build another Stanley Cup champion and that’s the process that we’re going through right now.”

Ilitch said he also supports Jeff Blashill, but the decision on Blashill’s future is up to Holland — who announced later in the afternoon Blashill is returning.

Ilitch believes the future of the Red Wings remains bright, despite missing the playoffs this season.

“As an organization we saw a lot of young, talented players make their Red Wings debuts and NHL debuts this season,” Ilitch said. “When you look at players as (Dylan) Larkin, (Anthony) Mantha, (Andreas) Athanasiou, (Evgeny) Svechnikov, and (Tyler) Bertuzzi and (Tomas) Nosek and (Matt) Lorito, these guys that got a little of a debut this year, the future is bright.

“We have a team in Grand Rapids that is playing very well. It bodes well for the Red Wings’ future.”

Who’s leaving? Who’s staying? A Red Wings roster forecast

Blashill returning

Holland said he believes in Blashill, believes in Blashill's winning resume, and Blashill will return for a third season.

Blashill said he plans on bringing back his three assistants, although he hasn't spoken yet individually to any of the three and doesn't know what their individual plans are.