Ken Holland's 22 years as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, including Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, taught him that winning can change an organization's culture.
Hired by the Edmonton Oilers as their general manager May 7, Holland, 63, has a big challenge ahead of him, going to a team with many question marks and plenty of recent disappointment. The Oilers were seventh in the Pacific Division this season with 79 points and have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in the past 13 seasons.
"What changes the culture? Winning," Holland said. "But how do you win enough to change the culture?"
Holland says it's the central question and where his work will begin.
Initially, it has been with some organizational decisions. Senior vice-president of hockey operations Craig MacTavish, a former Oilers general manager, coach and player, chose to leave to coach Lokomotiv in the KHL. Vice-president of player personnel Duane Sutter has been fired. And Holland decided to move on from coach Ken Hitchcock and conduct his own coaching search.
There will also be roster decisions ahead and when he completes his personnel decisions, Holland wants the plan and the focus in Edmonton to be all about stability.