Holland has Stanley in sights -- again

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Ten years ago, the Detroit Red Wings repeated as Stanley Cup champions. Ken Holland's target is to do it again.

The salary cap and league parity seem to conspire against NHL teams from becoming dominant for years on end, but Holland, the Red Wings general manager, won't let that stop him from trying to build a dynasty.

"We were the last team to defend (as Cup champions) in 1997-98," Holland said in a telephone interview. "It's hard to win, a large part of winning is good fortune with injuries and matchups. That doesn't mean it's impossible (to repeat). We're going to try."

Holland sits atop a management structure in Detroit that is the envy of the league, surrounded by solid hockey minds such as Jimmy Devellano, Jim Nill, Steve Yzerman and, until this past off-season, Scott Bowman. The Leafs have said they plan to use the Wings model as a blueprint for their own management structure (don't you wish).

The Wings have captured four Stanley Cups in 11 years, including this past spring against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That's not exactly a dynasty but it is as close as you'll get since the Edmonton Oilers' string of five Cups in seven years, 1984-90.

Perhaps the sensation of winning the Cup last spring will motivate the Wings to do it again. "Winning one championship is difficult," Holland said. "Winning twice is twice as difficult."

One of the drawbacks for the defending champs is that they played six or eight weeks longer into the spring that most of the other NHL teams. There is less time to recover from the bruises and the surgeries, less time to rekindle the fire. You get the sense that Holland would be the last guy, though, to roll out the excuses of a Cup hangover and a short summer, should the Wings not get back to the final.

"Energy and emotion are important ingredients and sometimes there is only so much energy and emotion in the tank," Holland said. "The disappointment of losing in the third round in '07 kept the team hungry."

At this point of the season, you don't worry about the end result, you worry about the process, said Holland, a one-time draft pick of the Leafs, who has been the Wings GM since July 1997.

Holland views dynasties as being good for sports, mentioning the New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens and New England Patriots.

"Tiger Woods has been a dynasty. From a fan's standpoint, having a team (or a golfer) that everyone wants to beat is a good thing."

The Red Wings are a good thing. They've come a long way from being Dead Things.

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