DETROIT — Chris Ilitch is the first to admit that it hasn’t been business as usual for the Detroit Red Wings the past couple of seasons, but he’s confident the man to bring them back to the glory days is the man they currently have in charge.
The Red Wings’ governor announced Saturday the club had agreed to a new two-year contract with general manager Ken Holland.
"Around these parts, we’re used to be being in the playoffs, we’re used to competing for Stanley Cups, and believe me, that’s where we all want to be," Ilitch said. "That’s a lot of fun. To get back there, it’s a process. We’ve done it before and we’re going to do it again.
"We think Ken is the right guy to lead that for our organization, so we’re thrilled to have him back."
Detroit’s 25-year run of consecutive post-season appearances came to an end in 2015-16 and the Red Wings have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They entered their final game of the season on Saturday against the New York Islanders 27th overall in the NHL with a 30-39-12 record.
Still, Ilitch pointed to Holland’s performance as both a scout and the team’s director of scouting as the Red Wings assembled the talent pool that won four Stanley Cups between 1997-2008 as an indication that Holland can mastermind the current rebuild.
"Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wings team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to the Stanley Cup champion," Ilitch said. "That’s the blueprint for our future and Ken knows that."
Holland has traded to restructure the team and holds an NHL-high 11 picks in the upcoming entry draft.
"I understand there’s a big challenge ahead here going forward," Holland said. "I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings."
Holland indicated that he would address the future of coach Jeff Blashill on Tuesday when the Wings have scheduled their locker cleanout day.