I'd like to apologize for the dearth of posting around here. There are two reasons for this and they are tied together: first, there is a real lack of Wings-related news and second, it stems from our disappointment in the Wings' inactivity on the free agent market.
GM Ken Holland's plan apparently is to go in to the season with little more than a skeleton crew and make trades as the season goes along to add to the roster. Because so many players on the roster will have contracts expire after this coming season, Holland feels it best to wait until next summer to throw money around. This shouldn't make Wings fans feel very positive about the coming year, that's for sure, but it does give us something to look forward to in a year's time. I already have doubts about the team's ability to even make the playoffs, let alone play through them, after seeing the moves other teams, both in our division and throughout the conference, have made.
It's easy to criticize Holland for his apparent short-sightedness (or stupidity, if you prefer) in light of the Wings' post-lockout predicament. However, I think it's a bit unfair. For years, everyone with an interest in the team has demanded excellence, from Mr. Illitch to the media down to Joe Fan. And for years, Ken Holland has delivered, assembling a quality roster each year. To do this, he had to negotiate contracts with both new and old players, to bring players in and to keep players here.
I suspect, in a number of cases, he was forced to give more lengthy contracts to players with a greater value in order to either lure them to Detroit or to convince them to stay. These contracts extended beyond the expiration of the old CBA and in to unknown territory (though everyone had an idea of what was out there). Today, that seems monumentally short-sighted and stupid, given the restrictions they are now under financially. But I remember chanting "Win! Win!" with all the rest of the herd, when the lockout was a future possibility not a past event. Can we blame Holland for obeying our demands even if it screwed us over post-lockout?
I think we would do well to remember that the Wings decade of influence and era of power was nearing its end anyway. The team was getting older and the era of Yzerman-type players and the accompanying loyalty was too. The idea of building a franchise on the youth is a crock any more now that players apparently have little or no attachment to the teams that drafted them, except through the bribery of a lucrative contract. Now, because of the new CBA, we're seeing it happen a bit faster. It will probably hurt more than it would have and the fall could be further but there's at least there's a chance that next summer, the Wings will be back on the market with their checkbooks open.
I'm just trying now to be thankful that Holland is working on getting Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk signed. They are another result of the demands of Hockeytown, quality draft picks who were able to develop in to the potential big-time stars because the Wings had the depth and experience to do without them before they were ready.
I'm going to just try to enjoy having hockey back this year and not be disappointed if the Wings don't live up to old expectations. They're still my team and that is not going to change.
So, I wait for September, when camp starts and beyond that, October 5th, opening night.
(Also, I'm working 50 or so hours this week, my last before school starts up again, so my time at a computer is pretty limited. I guess it's almost a good thing there's nothing to comment on...)