Ken Holland's Press Conference After Mike Babcock's Departure from the Red Wings

DETROIT, MI -- At 4pm ET, Ken Holland spoke to the media after Mike Babcock had announced that he would be leaving the Red Wings to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. The conference lasted around 40 minutes. Holland was thorough, and answered every question with great responses, as per usual.

There are a lot of questions on who will be taking over Babcock's role as head coach of the Detroit club, and it's clear that Ken Holland wants Jeff Blashill, coach of the Red Wings affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins to be the first candidate.

"I owe it to Blashill, this organization has his fingerprints all over it, I owe it to him to speak with him first."

When he says his fingerprints are all over the organization, he means in terms of prospect and player development, which Blashill has taken a huge role in since becoming a part of the team. Ken Holland was asked about Blashill's best attributes as a coach and he kept it short, and simple:

"He wins."

With one Calder Cup Championship under his belt, an AHL Coach of the Year award, and Detroit's first Prospect Tournament Championship since the organization put the tournament together, Jeff Blashill has shown that he can win. What Holland wants to speak to Blashill about mainly revolves around player accountability, and an "everyday attitude."

"If we hire Blashill, we'll talk about a plan for success, but I want him to focus on Grand Rapids right now."

Holland said he spoke with Jeff Blashill today momentarily, but wants him to remain focused on winning another Calder Cup. Holland went on and stated that he is going to spend some time with the Griffins coach over the next couple of weeks. He'll make a list of coaches to take over, but he wants to keep it short, three candidates max. Sounds like Holland wants to get a coach in place as soon as possible.


Holland obviously spoke a lot about Babcock in his press conference. Said that coaching the same team for 10 years is a lifetime, so it makes sense that he is leaving for other opportunities while he's in his prime. Holland went on to say that the absolute max term he could give Babcock was five years, and that would've made $50 million impossible.

"I'm glad to know the decision. I can get on with finding a coach, and focusing on the NHL combine, and the draft."

Holland went on to speak about the last ten years, and what Mike Babcock has accomplished with the Red Wings. 10 straight years of playoff appearances, and one Stanley Cup Championship. He did provide a little bit of insight on the last few years, though:

"Babcock, Lewis, Bowman, they helped build us into what we are. My opportunity to thank Mike was to grant him his request."

"In the 10 seasons Mike has been here, I can't say we underachieved. We've had disappointments"

While I think the team has certainly underachieved in some seasons over the past years, I can definitely agree that there have been some huge disappointments. This season being one of them. Holland was calm and collected, obviously a bit emotional over the entire situation, but it is what it is.

"I'm glad to know the decision. I can get on with finding a coach, and focusing on the NHL combine, and the draft."


At the end of the day, Holland just couldn't give what Toronto was putting up in terms of capital, and term. He wished him best of luck, and now wants to focus on moving forward. He said a few times that they now have to "beat" Babcock, as they play in the same division, and have to play them four times a year.

"I told Blashill he is the first guy I want to talk to. That's the first step, after we speak, I'll know what the next step is."

We now know what the plan is: Ken Holland is going to speak with Jeff Blashill, and figure out where he wants to go from there. There is a good chance that he doesn't even need to interview other coaches, but Holland didn't elaborate on that matter. With all the talk and praise of Blashill in the press conference, one thing is clear to me: Ken Holland wants Jeff Blashill to coach this team.