Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland told reporters Wednesday he was unaware of Mike Babcock’s bad players with the Detroit Red Wings, responding to recent accusations of verbal assault by former players Chris Chelios and Johan Franzen.
“I’ve been the CEO for 22 years,” said Holland – who worked with Scotty Bowman, Dave Lewis, Babcock, Jeff Blashill and now Dave Tippett in his 22 years as NHL general manager – via TSN . “At the end of the year, I always do exit interviews. A player who doesn’t like the coach, doesn’t like their role, doesn’t like the way they play – I hear that all the time.”
“You’re talking about Johan Franzen, I can’t talk about Johan,” he added. “And when he came out, he was very clear and said Mike Babcock was a huge coach. He doesn’t like him as a man.”
MORE: Johan Franzen calls Mike Babcock “the worst person I’ve ever met”
On Monday, Franzen detailed his experiences playing at Babcock from 2005-15 with Swedish Expressen following Chelios on the Barstool Sports podcast “Spittin ‘Chiclets” that Babcock verbally attacked Franzen during a game, causing progress to have a nervous breakdown.
The Netherlands, who had been with Babcock in Detroit for 10 years before leaving to take on the job at Edmonton GM in May, said the views of Babcock’s players were varied. He added that while he is not usually in the locker room, when his coaches talk to their teams, he “knows everything” as a general manager.
“There are one-on-one meetings and some group meetings. I’m not experienced in every word that comes out, but I definitely know the message,” the Dutchman told reporters. “I’ve been trying to be available to our players over the years … to talk to players after the season at the exit meetings and get to know what’s going on. I know there was some misery? To be miserable, I don’t care about style. you, but some things, I don’t know.
Helios said in an interview that the Netherlands had been informed of how Bergkok treated players after the Francis incident and that GM responded by offering dissatisfied players. The Netherlands said Wednesday there is an inaccurate understanding of when the two events happened.
“I spoke to Heli,” the Dutch told reporters. “I keep Cheli in the highest regard … I just told Cheli that the timetable he set – the perception was that there was a situation between Babcock and Franzen on the bench and the next day I went down and said something to the team – Both are true , but it’s about five to six years when I did the squad once – I think Cheli retired in ’09 – Cheli said he was sitting in the closet, so it must be ’06, ’07 – and Franzen-Babcock was the Nashville series in 2012. “