Ken Holland once transitioned the Detroit Red Wings from Steve Yzerman Reggie Ragland Jersey , Sergei Fedorov and that generation of greats to the one that followed with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Now he’s trying to do it again.
The veteran general manager knows it won’t be as easy this time, so he’s adding and keeping some older players to bridge the gap. On Sunday , the Red Wings signed 34-year-old winger Thomas Vanek and 29-year-old goaltender Jonathan Bernier and re-signed 32-year-old defenseman Mike Green.
Vanek signed a $3 million, one-year deal, Bernier got $3 million per season on a three-year deal and Green will make $5.375 million annually over the next two years as part of a series of transitional deals for the rebuilding Red Wings.
”It’s going to take a little bit of time, we have to have some patience,” Holland said. ”I believe we’re headed in the right direction. In the short term, trying to bring in some veteran players obviously to mentor, to role-model the young kids. We need to be competitive. It’s important to develop players if they’re in an environment that’s positive and we go into every game we have a chance to win and we’re trying to obviously juggle having veterans on the roster and moving young players into the roster.”
Vanek enjoyed his 48 games with the Red Wings in 2016-17 so much he wanted to return last summer, but they didn’t have the salary-cap space. He’s not the prolific scorer he was a decade ago, but Vanek was in demand after putting up 15 points in 19 regular-season games with the Blue Jackets as a trade-deadline pickup.
”We had a few options, but Detroit, ever since I’ve been there, I loved it,” Vanek said. ”I really liked the whole culture of the organization and the guys were great.”
As a right-shot defender who can run a power play Michael Hoomanawanui Jersey , Green would’ve drawn serious interest if he became an unrestricted free agent. He never seriously considered leaving.
With the neck injury that cut his season short has healed, he wanted to remain with the Red Wings and help bring along the next generation.
”There’s a lot that weighed on my decision to stay,” Green said. ”I think it’s easy sometimes just to go somewhere else, especially with the transition that’s going on there in Detroit, but I feel like I can be useful in the next couple years kind of helping the younger guys develop quicker and speed up that process.”
Having better goaltending might not speed up the process, but it’ll make the Red Wings more competitive. They think they’ll get that from Bernier, who was the odd man out in Colorado and will split duties in net with Jimmy Howard.
”We’re going to push each other to bring this team back to the playoffs,” Bernier said. ”I didn’t want to be in a position where I played 15, 20 games. I want to come in and have a chance to play as much as possible obviously depending on play. I just thought it was a great opportunity that me and Jimmy can battle for our games.”
Holland isn’t worried about clogging the roster up for young players. Sixth overall pick Filip Zadina should be able to play right away up front, and the Red Wings have begun to rebuild their prospect pipeline.
One immediate problem could be the health of captain Henrik Zetterberg, who has been hampered by back problems and is no sure bet to be able to play next season. Zetterberg, who turns 38 in October, cast doubts on his future after the season, and Holland can’t say with any certainty what will happen with the Swedish center.
”Last I talked to him, I think he’s planning on playing Steve Grogan Jersey ,” Holland said. ”Obviously his back is going to determine whether he can or he can’t. … When you’re dealing with the back and you’re dealing with the health of a person, it’s hard to read the future when it comes to health. Obviously that’s a key piece for us. I’ll stay in touch with Henrik as we get into July to see how his health is.”
AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed.
A smiling David Tepper jogged down a small makeshift runway at a crowded gymnasium, crouching as he went to slap hands with wildly cheering elementary school children clad in blue Carolina Panthers T-shirts while music blared.
After finishing his short jog, the Panthers owner smiled back at the crowd and seemed to soak in the moment.
Tepper made his first charitable donation to the Carolinas on Tuesday through his foundation, giving away 12,000 new backpacks and school supplies to 17 elementary schools across the Charlotte, North Carolina, area including those students at Thomasboro Academy.
"It's been great," said a smiling Tepper of his first seven weeks as owner.
The self-made multi-billionaire hedge fund owner is 60, but still remembers his days growing up in Pittsburgh in a lower-income household. His mother worked as a teacher at an inner city school, and he got to see firsthand how difficult it was for her to provide school supplies for her students.
He also remembers walking to school with a brown bag because he didn't have a backpack. In high school he would sometimes hitch rides to school.
When he purchased the Panthers for an NFL-record $2.2 billion from Jerry Richardson in July, Tepper said he immediately thought of supporting schoolchildren, calling them "our future."
"I thought it was a great way to start off," said Tepper, who is known for his philanthropy in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
"Every kid needs supplies and there is a shortage of supplies. Teachers don't have enough money for supplies 鈥?and you know the situation in North Carolina and in the Carolinas in general with schools. So whatever we can do to help that out Aaron Burbridge Jersey , it's great."
Said Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis: "He comes in here with that same mindset we have (as players) with giving back to the community."
Tepper is quickly becoming a popular figure in the Charlotte area.
Unlike Richardson, who is more stoic and formal and kept out of the spotlight, Tepper exudes the feel of an ordinary guy, often dressing in khaki shorts, a golf shirt and a baseball hat.
Prior to the Panthers' first preseason game, he tailgated with fans and knocked back a few beers.
"He's easy to talk to, he's approachable and he likes being around the guys," Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said.
When he bought the Panthers, Tepper vowed to change the culture and make it more of a family atmosphere where people are comfortable in the workplace regardless of race, gender or religion.
That came after allegations surfaced of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace by Richardson while owner of the Panthers. He was later fined $2.7 million by the NFL when reports were substantiated following a six-month investigation. The reports ultimately prompted Richardson, the team's founder, to put the franchise up for sale.
Tepper is already shaking it up, doing things his way.
The Panthers have worn two different uniform combinations in their first two preseason home games and there's talk of possibly incorporating a black helmet into the mix 鈥?a look Richardson would never go for.
Tepper is also expected to put the Panthers logo at midfield for the team's first regular-season home game; Richardson always made sure the NFL shield was at midfield for more than two decades to honor the league.
Tepper wants to build an indoor/outdoor practice football facility in South Carolina, just over the border.
The Panthers have never had an indoor practice facility under Richardson.
Tepper hasn't talked much about plans for a new stadium, but it's something he'll have to consider at some point as Bank of America 鈥?completed in 1995 鈥?is now one of the older stadiums in the league.
Last week Alan Page Jersey , Tepper hired Tom Glick as the team's new president, saying he will bring a "new perspective" to the organization 鈥?with an eye toward bringing a Major League Soccer team to the Carolinas.
Glick has spent the past six years working with developing the City Football Group (CFG), a multi-national soccer organization that includes six clubs including current English Premier League champion Manchester City FC. The Group also owns New York City FC of Major League Soccer.
As chief commercial officer of CFG, Glick has experience working with soccer expansion, as well as building new stadiums and training centers.
When asked if that experience helped Glick land the job, Tepper replied, "it didn't hurt."
Tepper deflected other questions about business, saying he wanted this day to be about the kids.
"The first thing I did when I came down here is I said we have to do something like this in Charlotte," Tepper said. "We are thinking something across the two states in the future. ... It's great stuff."
And, he promised, only the beginning of his charitable ways in the Carolinas.
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