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Archive 2018





March 15th, 2018


Sorry, but my bracket is better

than yours (at least for now)



Sports Director


Yeah baby! Little Rhode Island prevails in OT over Big 12 power Oklahoma after missing a put-back from under the basket as time expired in regulation. And my bracket – the golden ticket to the million bucks that website is offering – remains unblemished.


OK, so we’re just a few hours into Thursday’s 16-game orgy of March Madness college basketball. But in this tournament, the best event in all of sport, and the most humiliating for most of us who dare to predict the winners of 65 ball games over a thrilling three-week joy ride, you enjoy success where you can find it.


So No. 7 seed Rhode Island edges the No. 10 Sooners. The 7-10 matchups are as much a coin flip as the games that pit 8-9 against each other, the experts tell us. So we sweat out every minute of those games, watching live while keeping our eyes on the corner of the screen that shows the scores of other games being played, or just completed.


No. 1 seed Kansas hardly breaks a sweat over Penn in a 16-point win; No. 4 Gonzaga gets a scare from UNC Greensboro, winning 68-68; No. 3 Tennessee over Wright State by 26; Duke in a rout over Iona.


Check. Check. Check. And check.


Bracket remains perfect. I’m starting to dream about what I can do with that million dollars.


But now it gets interesting. I had an underdog in the next four games, two if you count No. 9 N.C. State over No. 8 Seton Hall. I also took No. 11 Loyola-Chicago to No. 6 Miami. And not just because so many so-called expert bracketologists warn that 11 over 6 upsets are fairly common in this tournament. (And if you want to separate yourself from the pack, and maybe brag about it on the radio, you pick a few upsets and hold your breath.)


Also, in another life as a sports writer with The Associated Press in Chicago, I covered a few Ramblers games the last time they were relevant in national college hoops circles – with fiery coach Gene Sullivan and a lights-out shooter with three first names, Alfredrick Hughes – who remains the university’s all-time scoring leader. It was a fun team to cover, and an easy upset candidate for me in this bracket.


All right, I won’t bore you to tears with my game-by-game selections. Rather, we’ll cut to the chase: My Final Four are Virginia, Villanova, Duke and Michigan. And I have the Wolverines winning it all


That wasn’t so easy to do for some who leans a bit toward Sparty. OK, I lean heavily in that direction.


It’s hard not to be impressed by Michigan State’s 29-4 record heading into the tournament. But something about this team and its chances to win it all are unsettling. Some of it has to do with the two double-digit losses to Michigan – one in East Lansing and the other on the biggest stage in the world at New York’s Madison Square Garden.


The Wolverines just found a way to come up big when it mattered. As impressive as their wins over Michigan State were, the Wolverines were simply dominant against a very good Purdue team that presented a very different set of matchup problems than the Spartans.


I picked Michigan to advance farther because of John Beilein, the coach who finally seems to be getting some props after years in the shadow of Tom Izzo. I remember a time when Izzo’s teams were consistently better in March and April than they were in November. But for whatever reason, that hasn’t been the case in recent years.


Seriously, has there been a bigger heartbreaker than the No. 2-seed Spartans, led by captain Denzel Valentine, losing to No. 15 Middle Tennessee State in St. Louis a couple of years ago? One of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. Right up there with the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines losing at the Big House to tiny Appalachian State, 34-32, in 2007. One of the greatest upsets in college football history put the Mountaineers on the cover of Sports Illustrated.


But we digress. This Michigan team is legit, better even than the team it sent to the tournament last year, when the Wolves won the Big Ten tournament with four wins in four games after surviving a plane crash on the way to the event. A No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, Michigan was an overtime bucket away from advancing to the Elite Eight.


Zavier Simpson has emerged as the player to watch, a guy who can beat you at either end of the court – and maybe the guy you’d take in a pick-up game ahead of Miles Bridges.


Michigan State, thanks to its record and the Big Ten regular-season championship, caught a break and will play a couple of “home” games at Little Caesars Arena. I cannot fathom an upset by Bucknell in the opening round, but then again I never imagined Middle Tenn. . . you get the idea.


The Spartans just might find their comfort level that helped them roll through the conference late in the season. If they can exorcize their demons and regain their chutzpah, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them in the Final Four. (For the record, picking Duke to come out of the Midwest Region made me through up a little bit in my mouth. I really wanted to pick a Wolverines-Spartans in the finals.)


At any rate, I’m going to put a 30 on this and get back to the TV. Loyola-Chicago needs me, down by two with 5:30 to go against Miami. Need to keep this bracket perfect.


At least until No. 12 South Dakota State bounces No. 5 Ohio State. It’s 43-43 at the half. Didn’t see that one coming.



Keith Gave’s new book, “The Russian Five, A story of espionage, defection, bribery and courage,” is available for pre-sale on Watch this space for local appearances and book-signings.


Follow on twitter @KeithGave





March 13th, 2018 


Red Wings fans expecting heads

to roll will be sorely disappointed



Sports Director


Because we have some breaking news about the Red Wings, we’ll reserve for another time commentary on what could be a generational March Madness tournament for fans in this state. Same goes for some critical battles for jobs at Tigers spring training, Lions activity in free agency and the sorry, sorry state of the Pistons.


Apologies in advance to diehard fans clamoring for change, but the news is this – according to a well-placed source near the top of the franchise food chain: GM Ken Holland and coach Jeff Blashill are going nowhere. At least that’s the plan heading into the final month of another season without Stanley Cup playoff hockey.


Holland is an architect of the team that advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs 25 straight years, the last 11 of those seasons after the NHL adopted a salary cap designed balance competition throughout the league. During those years, Holland won four Stanley Cups, the first as assistant GM in 1997, and the other three as GM in 1998, 2002 and 2008.


It was around the time the Wings were winning in ’08 and nearly doubling their pleasure again the following season (losing to Pittsburgh in the seventh game of the Cup finals) that Holland was widely hailed as the best general manager in sports. After all he retooled the Wings on the fly after that roster of Hall of Famer in 2002.


It didn’t hurt that his European scouts found him Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in the late rounds of the draft. Both emerged as megastars who kept Detroit playoff relevant for several more seasons.


Of course, now fans in this what-have-you-done-for-lately business are hoping to run Holland out of town. And they still could get their wish. Holland’s contract expires after this season. Unless he gets a better offer elsewhere, it’s likely he’ll be retained on a year-to-year basis until owner Marian Ilitch and her son, Chris, decide to make a change.


Already, Holland’s name is being floated as a leading candidate as the inaugural GM in Seattle, expected to begin play in the NHL in 2020. A native of Western Canada, Holland, 62, is viewed as the perfect fit for that job.


Either way, he knows his time in Detroit is short. As he said in a phone call recently to one of his trusted advisers after trading goalie Petr Mrazek and winger Tomas Tater away at the NHL’s trade deadline: “Well, I finally got this rebuild started – but I don’t think I’ll be around to finish it.”


If he is welcomed back for another season, as expected, it’s an absolute certainty that Blashill will return. And if Holland get the blame for assembling this roster of overpaid veterans and inconsistent youngsters, Blashill is to blame for doing too good a job, the Wings’ hierarchy believes.


“We won too much, considering the kind of team we had,” the source explained. “I mean, let’s be honest: Our best players – we’re talking about the young guys now – are average. We don’t have any difference-makers, the kinds of players you find at the top of the first round of the draft.”


Which is why, when he wakes up every morning, Ken Holland goes straight to the lower end of the NHL’s overall standings to see, hopefully, his team inching toward the bottom.


Heading into Monday night’s game at San Jose, the first of four games on the west coast, the Wings were 26th overall, a point ahead of Montreal, three head of Vancouver and seven ahead of Arizona at 31st overall.


With luck, the Wings feel like they can finish 28th overall, which increases their chances at the No. 1 pick when the lottery balls are flying. For instance, at 6th overall, the Wings have a 7.6 percent chance of getting the first overall selection in the draft – which will be Rasmus Dahlin, a generational defenseman. Moving up a notch to 5thoverall, odds improve to 8.5, and fourth overall chances get better at 9.5


By finishing last overall, Arizona would have an 18 percent chance of getting the first pick.


All teams finishing out of the playoffs are included in the draft lottery. If the playoffs began on Monday, Anaheim, as the 17th overall team in the standings, would have a 1 percent chance at the first pick.


So you can see how these last 14 games on the schedule bear some significance – and why Holland and others in the Detroit front office smile with every loss. The fastest way to a successful rebuild is by losing now – and similarly for the next year or two.


In other words, there will be pain. And Chris Ilitch has been around long enough to know how it works. Which is why we shouldn’t read too much into his silence. He’s trusting the process, and over the last 25 years or so, Ken Holland has earned some benefit of the doubt.


You don’t have to like it, but you might as well accept it.


Keith Gave’s new book, “The Russian Five, A story of espionage, defection, bribery andcourage,” is available for pre-sale on Watch this space for local appearances and book-signings.


Follow on twitter @KeithGave




March 6th, 2018 


The best time ever to be a sports fan,

March Madness is just the beginning




Sports Director


In the beginning of the iconic baseball movie, “The Natural,” Roy Hobbs, a young baseball phenom, is on his way from the wheat fields of the Midwest to Chicago for a tryout with the Cubs. On the train, he and the scout who discovered him meet “The Whammer,” the most famous ballplayer in the land, a Babe Ruth-type figure who is in the presence of a sports writer and a beautiful woman.


After a few condescending remarks, a bet is made: This kid, the scout said, can strike out The Whammer on three straight pitches. The train stops at a town holding a carnival. In the next scene, we see a The Whammer waving a bat and the young man, played by Robert Redford, winding up to throw a pitch. The sports writer is the catcher, the scout is the umpire and the beautiful woman can’t take her eyes off The Whammer.


The kid fires two quick strikes past the batter, who suddenly decides to get serious. The third pitch, naturally, sails in slow motion. The ball evades the flailing bat and lands with a thump into the catcher’s mid.


Strike three!


And with that, in quite a memorable and pivotal scene, the beautiful woman turns her gaze from vanquished batter to the handsome young pitcher, the newest object of her devotion.


My point: It felt as though something like that was happening during the Big Ten basketball tournament last weekend, precisely when underdog Michigan was dealing favored Michigan State – the No. 2 team in the nation – the second double-digit defeat in as many matches between the two teams this season.


Suddenly, as though this was breaking news, the fawning Detroit media turned its attention to the Wolverines, who for the second straight season won four games in as many days to claim the tournament championship. The last two were against the tournament favorites, Michigan State and Purdue. Neither game was close.


Immediately, readers were flooded with stories about how that team from Ann Arbor is legit – that word was in a headline – and how it’s perfectly reasonable to expect Michigan to make another serious run at a Final Four appearance.


On the flip side, the media had out it’s carving knives, rolling Michigan State onto a gurney to dissect it and determine whatever is wrong with the Spartans. Sure, they’re 29-4, but something is very, very wrong. Obviously. But what, exactly? Distractions? Is Tom Izzo losing his touch. What’s happened to Miles Bridges’ game?


Maybe that’s why they call it March Madness: Because we all get a little crazy this time of year.  We’ll spend much of the rest of the week debating about who’s the bigger idiot, Jerry Palm or Joe Lunardi, the two most notable NCAA tournament bracketologists.


Then, after Sunday’s selection show we’ll argue about the seedings, who got preferential treatment on the top lines (Michigan’s only a fourth!) and who got screwed out of a bid (sorry, Louisville, Kansas State and Arizona State).


Finally (mercifully for those of us around the Big Ten who will have gone 11 days without meaningful basketball) the games will begin. And halfway through the Opening Day’s 16 tipoffs, when 14th seed upsets a No. 3 team, our brackets will be a mess as we try to remember exactly what the hell it was we were thinking when we picked those dogs to win.


But would we have it any other way in this best of all possible sporting times of the year? The NCAA tournament gets going as spring training unfolds around Florida and Arizona. The tournament field narrows as teams break camp and head north to start the season. Then, just as a national basketball champion is crowned, the puck drops on the Stanley Cup playoffs – the most difficult tournament in all sport. Soon after, the NBA playoffs begin.


Sure, it’s a lot more fun when the Red Wings and Pistons are in it – but that ain’t happening this spring.


When hockey and basketball seasons end, we slow our pace on those long summer days and enjoy the ball games on the radio as we fire up the grill.


But these next couple of months? We strap ourselves in and pinball from sport to sport to sport, gorging ourselves on big plays, bad calls, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. We immerse ourselves in meaningless games whose outcomes, really, mean little in the great scheme of things – except for the few hours that they help us escape from a world that seems to be getting more miserable by the minute.


Thank God for sports.


I refuse to end on a dark note, however. We began with an anecdote from the movie, “The Natural,” and I’ll conclude with a suggestion for you to spend a few hours chilling on Netflix and watching. It’s about hope, and never giving up on a dream. There’s a little Roy Hobbs in all of us.  Or there should be. You’ll see what I mean.


Keith Gave’s new book, “The Russian Five, A story of espionage, defection, bribery andcourage,” is available for pre-sale on Watch this space for local appearances and book-signings.


Follow on twitter @KeithGave



March 2nd, 2018 

Distractions threaten Spartans more than foes;

Red Wings in good company among also-rans



Sports Director


Can’t blame Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for trying to zip-lock his team heading into the weekend’s Big Ten tournament, shielding his players from inquiring minds as storm clouds continue to gather over their university.


Basketball questions only, he told his players – and the media – in an impassioned declaration before leaving East Lansing. Enough with the interrogations about how the investigation and sentencing of the MSU doctor who violated his young patients is affecting life on campus for one of the best college basketball teams in the nation. Enough with the questions about a nationwide recruiting scandal that threatens all of college basketball – and has already shed a harsh light on MSU star Miles Bridges.


Stick to basketball, the stuff between the lines, Izzo demanded. Pleaded.


Note to the coach: Good luck with that.


Izzo is making a big ask, considering he’s taking his No. 2-ranked team into Madison Square Garden – in the media capital of the universe. This isn’t East Lansing, or even Detroit, where a respected coach can set some ground rules and reasonably expect them to be followed.


The media in New York typically dismisses such boundaries. There, they will relentlessly pursue any story of their choosing. And if they want to accentuate the dark clouds overhead, they will.


So, this is going to be a big test for the tournament favorite. If the Spartans can handle the distractions in the Apple – and as Izzo pointed out, they haven’t done such a great job since mid-January or so with a much cozier media – then they can handle them anywhere.


It’s only going to get worse when they arrive as a top-seed at any NCAA regional of the country, which is theirs to lose as they enter conference tournament play on Friday.



Slumping Wings have notable company

Go ahead, admit it. If someone had told you that with fewer than 20 games remaining this season, the Wings would be hanging in the standings with the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers – all playoff participants last spring with more than 100 points – you’d be doing your Stanley Cup shuffle right now.


Think about it: Chicago topped the Western Conference last season with 109 points. Montreal won the Atlantic Division with 103. The Rangers and Oilers rode into the Stanley Cup playoffs with 103 and 102 points, respectively.


This season? Well, the Wings aren’t going to get a sniff at 100 points. And neither are any of those other teams. In fact, none of those teams even are going to make the playoffs – just like the Red Wings.


Today, Detroit stood tied with Chicago in the overall standings. Both had 62 points in 63 games. They were ahead of New York (62 points in 63 games). The Oilers and Canadiens each had 58 points in 63 games. Oh, and it’s worth noting that Ottawa – a team that came within an overtime goal of making the Stanley Cup Finals last spring – is behind all of those teams, sitting 29th overall in a 31-team league with just 52 points.


What a difference a year makes, eh?


My point? It can be a wild ride, hitching your wagon to an NHL team these days. You need to strap in tightly and consider wearing a helmet, just like the players.


It can go the other way, too. Tampa Bay sat atop the NHL standings with 90 points. When the Lightning make the playoff this spring, their streak will be one in a row. Yep, the best team in hockey this season missed the tournament last year.


So yeah, a lot can happen from one year to the next. That may not qualify as much of a silver lining, but for Wings fans Jonesin’ for some playoff hockey it’s worth keeping in mind.


Keith Gave’s new book, “The Russian Five, A story of espionage, defection, bribery andcourage,” is available for pre-sale on Watch this space for local appearances and book-signings.


Follow on twitter @KeithGave



Febraury 28th, 2018

Trade deadline moves show Red Wings

still stuck between present and future



Sports Director


With a series of curious decisions in the week ahead of the trade deadline, Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland continued to straddle the line between competitive relevance and a serious makeover his team desperately needs.


And it’s hurting his team.


Let’s face it, the Wings haven’t been relevant in the Stanley Cup chase since they lost Game 7 of the finals at home to Pittsburgh in 2009. They’ve won three playoff series since then, never getting past the second round.


Yet in that time, instead of beginning a rebuilding process that should have started a long time ago, he has spent future assets – prospects and draft picks – on rental players who did little to help push the team past merely qualifying for the playoffs.


Holland was fond of talking about “changing on the fly,” retooling and upgrading his team while it contended for championships. And for awhile – between the great teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s to the club that should have won back-to-back titles again in 2008-09 – it worked.


This was possible only because they hit the lottery with some late-round draft picks, guys named Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Those days of finding such gems abroad are over, too. Detroit changed that with all its success, especially in Russian and Sweden. Now every team has several scouts in Europe, the same way all major league ball clubs had beefed up their scouting staffs in Latin America.


But I digress.


We’re trying to figure out where this team is headed, searching for clues in the two deadline deals Holland made – and perhaps more important, the one he failed to make, the one everybody in hockey expected him to make.


Taken as a group, they don’t make a lot of sense. By shedding salary and stockpiling draft picks for one of his top-six forwards and his backup goaltender, Holland is signaling – finally, mercifully – that he’s prepared to go all-in on a long-overdue rebuild. Also, he needs the cap space to overpay Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, all of who are due to sign new deals in the off-season.


But by not trading his top-scoring, $6 million defenseman who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season – and then suggesting he may try to sign him up for another hitch, Holland is sending contrasting signals.


As much as Mike Green, 32, can do on the offensive end, especially on the power play, is wasted on this team over the next two or three years. Sure, he can be Detroit’s top-scoring defenseman on a young team that probably will lose as much as it wins over that time. In the meantime, he’s logging minutes that would best go Joe Hicketts or Flip Hronek or Dennis Choloski, youngsters who need to play and learn at the NHL level.


Signing Green to a new deal for big bucks makes zero sense. But perhaps Holland is just paying lip-service after failing to trade a guy who had more than a little value. Surely, Detroit could have turned him into picks in the second and third rounds, much like Holland did when he sent Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers at the deadline last year.


Granted, it didn’t help that Green had a full no-trade clause in his contract, and gave Holland the clearance to try and strike a deal with Washington, Green’s former team, or the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steve Yzerman, who is establishing himself as one of the NHL’s savviest general managers, went bigger, much bigger. He consummated a blockbuster deal that brought Rangers’ captain Ryan McDonough in a move that sets the Lightning up as the clear-cut Stanley Cup favorite.


I’m not buying that Green’s so-called upper body injury was an impediment to making a deal. Coach Jeff Blashill declared Green ready to play prior to the weekend games, but Green was scratched – presumably to protect an asset that was clearly on the trade market.


Was Holland’s asking price to high, especially when so many defensemen were switching teams in deals in the days leading up to Monday’s deadline? Did he wait too long to pull the trigger? Could he have gotten something, anything, from Tampa earlier? Did Washington, a Stanley Cup pretender that could really use Green back in its lineup – offer nothing at all?


Because that’s what the Wings are going to get when Green signs elsewhere.


That’s why Holland took so little in return, conditional third- and fourth-round picks from a desperate Philadelphia team that lost both its top goaltenders within a few days. (We’ll still never understand why Holland agreed to pay half of Mrazek’s remaining $4 million salary, to boot.) Holland needed neither a mask nor a gun to rob the Flyers in that deal. Instead, he got his pocket picked.


Oh, and Mrazek – who had a .935 save percentage in his final 10 games with the Wings – is doing just fine in a Flyers’ jersey. He’s 3-0 after a 1-0 shootout victory at Montreal on Monday, with a 1.30 goals-against average and a .947 save-percentage (allowing just four goals in the 76 shots he has faced). With those wins, the Flyers have moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division.


The good news for the Wings is that with two more victories from Mrazek, that fourth-round pick in 2018 because a third-rounder. And if he wings six playoff games and the Flyers advance to the conference finals (a longshot at best), the third-round pick in 2019 becomes a second-rounder.


Still no reason the Wings are eating half of Mrazek’s salary to win in Philly, but hey, Holland and the Wings have always been overly generous that way.


The best deal Holland has made in years – indeed one of the best of all the 2018 deadline deals – was dumping Tomas Tatar’s $5.3 million salary, through the 20-21 season, and getting a first-, second- and third-round draft pick in return.


Clearly Tatar has shown little inclination to come close to the 29 goals and 56 points he tallied in the 2014-15 season, though that didn’t prevent Holland from vastly overpaying him in a new contract last summer.


As a result of the deals for Tatar and Mrazek, and the deals that dispatched Smith and Tomas Vanek last year, the Wings have 11 draft picks, including six in the first three rounds, this summer – more than any other club. Holland – or whoever is the GM in 2019, will have 10 picks, as it stands right now. (Trading Green should have resulted in a couple of more, but we’ll quit beating that dead horse now.)


Bottom line: After being sellers in these last two seasons without playoff hockey in Hockeytown, the Wings are poised for a rebuild whether or not Holland embraces that term.


Now we can only hope they draft and develop the right players. If they do, in 3-4 years perhaps, we could be in store for more of those long Stanley Cup playoff joyrides that suddenly seem so long ago.



Keith Gave’s new book, “The Russian Five, A story of espionage, defection, bribery and courage,” is available for pre-sale on Watch this space for local appearances and book-signings.


Follow on twitter @KeithGave





February 26th, 2018 

New reality for Red Wings at trade

deadline: Better to give than receive


NHL’s trade deadline: Monday, 3 p.m.



Sports Director


Once upon a time in what seems a lifetime ago, the days approaching the NHL trade deadline for Red Wings fans were like the night before Christmas for a 6-year-old.


With breathless anticipation and wide-eyed wonderment, we couldn’t wait to see what gifts would be delivered by general manager Ken Holland in the final hours that might help put his team on course for a long Stanley Cup playoff run.


Holland is the guy, after all, who stunned the NHL world by giving up two first-round picks and a top defensive prospect to acquire Chris Chelios on March 23, 1999. Finally, they had the kind of defenseman they had been sorely lacking since they lost Vladimir Konstantinov to serious injury in that limo crash six nights after winning the 1997 Stanley Cup. Chelios went on to help Detroit win two more Cups during his tenure.


And at the deadline in 2008, in another brilliant move, Holland parted with a second- and a fourth-round pick to get defenseman Brad Stuart, who helped solidify the back end for another Stanley Cup title a few months later.


But in recent years, as a serious Stanley Cup run became increasingly elusive and just keeping that extraordinary playoff streak alive became the goal, those deadline gift packages turned out to be brittle lumps of coal that quickly turned to dust. Some cases on point:


2012 – Holland gave up a first-round pick and a prospect for defenseman Kyle Quincey, who didn’t come close to fulfilling expectations. Oh, and Tampa Bay used that pick to select goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, who could be on his way to leading the Lightning to a Stanley Cup this spring.


2014 – Desperate for help down the middle, Holland acquired Grosse Pointe native David Legwand from the Nashville Predators for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok, and a third-round pick. Jarnkrok couldn’t crack the Detroit lineup at the time. Now he might be the most versatile forward on a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring and might be on their way back again. The Wings would kill to have a player like that today.


2015 – Needing size and scoring on the wing, Holland acquired power forward Erik Cole from the Dallas Stars for center Mattias Janmark, defenseman Mattias Backman, and a second-round pick. Cole, who had a history of serious injuries, scored three goals among six points in 11 games for the Wings before his career ended with a neck injury. In Dallas, Janmark is a top-six forward with 16 goals and 30 points in 61 games – and a bright future ahead of him in the NHL. Not in Detroit.


Fast-forward to this week, when Holland announced he was open for business, hoping to make some deals for key players. He still expects his team to be able to compete, which these days means win just enough games to screw up its chances in the NHL’s draft lottery.


Holland is stockpiling draft picks and, he wishes, hopes to secure the kind of young prospects he squandered with those lousy recent deadline deals.


But he didn’t get off to a great start, letting Petr Mrazek go for conditional middling draft picks (fourth this year and thir

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