|Chris Osgood, Darren McCarty and Dominik Hasek are examples of veteran players who have returned to Detroit under general manager Ken Holland. (Photo by Getty Images) |
The look on his face seemed to indicate that the news had caught Kyle Quincey
completely by surprise last week.
No, it wasn’t because he had been traded from Colorado to Tampa Bay and then to Detroit where he originally began his NHL career as a fourth-round draftee nearly nine years ago. Rather, Quincey was stunned to learn he is the youngest of 17 Red Wings players who have left the organization – for one reason or another – only to be brought back by general manager Ken Holland.
“When you think of those guys, it’s just a huge compliment,” Quincey said. “I never really thought about it that way, but you bring up a great point and it’s a very great compliment and I’ll take it that way. That’s very nice.”
The 26-year-old Quincey is the third 20-something that Holland has reacquired, joining forwards Jiri Hudler
(27) and Jason Williams (29). The other reacquired players were all in their 30s with the exception of Igor Larionov, who was 40, and Dominik Hasek, who was 42 when he returned to Detroit for a third time.
In his 14 years as the 10th GM in franchise history, Holland has brought back a few different goalies, scorers, leaders and fighters, but the basis of his philosophy has plenty to do with familiarity of each player and character of the person.
“In all of the cases, it's because we were familiar with the player, we had positive feelings about the player when he left,” Holland said. “In Kyle Quincey
's case, we internally debated, and we made some decisions to keep some veterans around. We made some decisions to keep a couple of kids ahead of him that obviously, in hindsight, were wrong decisions. But we liked him enough to have that debate.”
Over the years, there’s also been a league-wide cogitation about the Wings’ overall age, and re-signing aging veterans only fuels the nonsense. But Holland says the tired and worn out debate is just that – unfounded and pointless.
“There’s been the age-old discussion about our team since 2001, since we lost out to LA,” Holland said. “Are we too old? Are we past our prime? Are we done? And it's 2012.”
The majority of the returning players have worked out for the Wings. Certainly Hasek, Dallas Drake, Chris Osgood and Darren McCarty are prime examples, as they returned to help Detroit win the 2008 Stanley Cup.
Yet whether they won a Cup or not in their return, all have been key veterans who played significant roles, guys like Todd Bertuzzi
, Joey Kocur, Doug Brown and Kevin Miller.
“In all the cases, you know the player from the past. You liked them,” Holland said. “At the time with Kocur, we wanted some toughness, we wanted some experience. In Kyle Quincey
's case, we wanted a defenseman.”
The hope is that Quincey can be a solid puck-moving defenseman while playing 22 minutes a night. But you never know how much you’re missed until you go away.
“We should have never let him go in the first place,” Holland said of Quincey. “He became available, and now he's back.”