Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: wayne gretzky
from the CP at Yahoo,
WAYNE GRETZKY: In your memoir you write about participating in the puck-drop ceremony for the 2014 Winter Classic alumni game at Comerica Park. Could you tell me a little bit about playing outdoors as a child? What was your local rink like? What's your fondest memory of playing outside?
GORDIE HOWE: I loved playing hockey and looked forward to getting on the ice. If I wasn't home eating I was on the ice skating all winter. The rink was just boards and ice. In the Depression there was no money to do much — I think we were lucky there was man-made ice to skate on. I don't know that any memory stands out as the fondest, but I always liked to score and loved to win. That was what I lived for.
WG: Having mentored countless younger players, you are one of the most iconic father figures in the hockey world. You're also known for a mischievous streak and the chip on your shoulder. What's the piece of advice you've imparted that kids aren't likely to have heard from their teachers or other authorities?
GH: One of my rules was to do unto others before they do unto you, but that was never my first advice to youngsters. What I always started with was making sure they held their stick in the proper position. You should hold the top hand on the stick like you would hold a hammer when you're driving a nail. You have the most leverage and you won't get your wrist broken. The chip on my shoulder was earned over many years of hard knocks and each player has to earn that chip on their shoulder their own way.
from Josh Kosman and Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Wayne Gretzky has joined a group of investors hoping to bring a National Hockey League team to Seattle, The Post has learned.
The Gretzky group is one of three looking to bring an NHL franchise to the home of Starbucks, sources said — but each faces an uphill battle in that league Commissioner Gary Bettman has not said the league is ready to expand.
It is not known if the Gretzky group or either of the other two groups are eyeing an expansion team or hope to move an existing team to the Pacific Northwest.
A move to buy a Seattle team would mark at least the second time the 53-year-old Hall of Famer tried to become an NHL owner.
On June 24th, the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will name its inductees for 2014, and as the process is a secretive one, we know its parameters and the men who represent the Hockey Hall of Fame, but we don't know how exactly one player of builder makes the cut and another does not in any particular year.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons believes that the selection committee needs to make amends for a long-standing omission amongst this year's shoo-ins:
At one time, in the early 1980s, they were considered the two most gifted and offensive explosive players in hockey. Wayne Gretzky won 10 scoring titles in the National Hockey League. Sergei Makarov won nine scoring titles in Russia, before he arrived in the NHL.
Gretzky had his Hall of Fame induction fast-tracked. Makarov is still waiting to hear his name called.
On June 23, the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be announced and the slam dunk this year is Dominik Hasek, as he should be. Joining him likely will be Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano and there’s really no argument with either of those. But somehow, Makarov’s candidacy appears to have been lost in time.
He was twice a world junior champion, 10 times a world champion, a winner of two Olympic gold medals and one silver. At the largest events, the Olympics and Canada Cups, he scored 59 points in 44 games:
Makarov came to the NHL late, won the rookie of the year award at 31, scored 292 points in 297 games in Calgary, ended his career quietly in San Jose and Dallas. Those who rule him out as Hall of Fame material because of his final NHL seasons, haven’t made enough attention to the final seasons of many already enshrined.
Makarov’s centre, Igor Larionov is already in the Hall, which is as much about NHL politics as it about truth. Makarov was the better player. It is overdue for him to be acknowledged for his wonderful career.
Simmons continues with his usual collection of hockey and sports-related observations--and Igor Larionov is now on the selection committe, for what it's worth..
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN recently reported...
Despite repeated reports linking Wayne Gretzky to Washington, it doesn’t sound as though The Great One and the Capitals are a match at this point. Whether it’s for president of hockey operations or another high-end executive job, at this hour, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Which is too bad, because No. 99 in that kind of role would be a great asset.
But John Feinstein of The Washington Post wants Gretzky in Washington,
The Capitals will be entering their 40th season in the fall. They have never won a Stanley Cup. They can go out and hire a standard-issue general manager and allow him to hire one of the very good coaches currently available. Come September everyone will talk about new beginnings and fresh approaches, and none of it will guarantee the team will be any better than the talented ones that fell short in the playoffs from 2008 to 2013.
But maybe instead Leonsis should think about what Gretzky — again, if he wants to work — can mean to a hockey franchise. Do you think there’s a bright young hockey executive or coach out there who wouldn’t want to work for Gretzky?
Maybe Gretzky would hire Mark Messier as coach. Do you think that would bring some fire to the locker room? Do you think Alex Ovechkin would ignore his back-checking responsibilities with Gretzky in the press box and Messier in the locker room?
There’s also the free agent issue. One of the sillier reasons George McPhee was fired as GM was the bleating of player agents who weren’t allowed in the locker room right after games. How many would voice such complaints to Gretzky’s face?
Do you think free agents will want to play for Gretzky? Do you think the Caps wouldn’t become one of the talked-about franchises in hockey the day Gretzky takes over?
For all of the discussion of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu's respective legacies that you'll be reading over the next few days--deserved discussion at that--the last game of the Highway Series between the aformentioned Finns' Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings wasn't much of a contest, because the all but literally ran over Anaheim.
NHL.com's Curtis Zupke's recap emphasizes that point:
The highly anticipated state title game was decided in an opening 10-minute, three-goal blitz by the Kings that began with yet another clutch goal by Justin Williams, who tied Wayne Gretzky for second all-time with his sixth career Game 7 goal.
After Los Angeles chased 20-year-old rookie goalie John Gibson on Anze Kopitar's first goal of the series that made it 4-0, Kings fans chanted "This is our house!" It was appropriate after the Kings won three of four games at Honda Center and improved to 6-0 in elimination games in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
[Justin] Williams nudged his second attempt across the goal line from the crease on the power play at 4:30 of the first period. Cam Fowler tried to rim the puck around but it didn't get out, and Richards put it on net for Williams.
Carter made it 2-0 when he finished a breakaway with one of his signature backhands at 8:48 after he muscled past Hampus Lindholm in the neutral zone. Richards sent Anaheim tumbling further with his second goal of the playoffs at 15:12 for a 3-0 lead. Richards dropped a pass to Dwight King and then went to the net to pop in the rebound that Gibson couldn't control.
That made it three goals allowed on nine shots against Gibson, who didn't have his best game but wasn't helped by his skaters either. Trailing 2-0, the Ducks might have changed the complexion of the game on a penalty shot awarded to Perry at 14:08, but Quick poke-checked away his attempt.
Zupke continues, and here's the NHL's highlight clip, including Corey Perry's unsuccessful penalty shot:
Gretzky and O'Brien go way back and recall Greatzky's 1989 appearance on Saturday Night Live.
With the NHL having paid Wayne Gretzky the remaining funds owed to Wayne Gretzky from the Phoenix Coyotes, the rumours of his next NHL destination are in full swing.
And they're pointing to the NHL's biggest market: Toronto.
With Gretzky paid out for what is believed to be $7 to 8 million, Gretzky may be eager to get back into the NHL and TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports that the Maple Leafs are very much interested in The Great One's services.
But could it actually happen?
Dreger spoke with TSN Radio 1050 Toronto's Mike Richards this morning, stating that there is a fit between Gretzky and the Leafs.
Wayne Gretzky will be repaid money he was owed by former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, the NHL agreeing to cut a check to the Great One after reaching a tentative deal with the legend, sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com.
Sources would not confirm the exact figure, but it's believed to be around $7 to $8 million.
The NHL for the past few years had sought to get the money owed to Gretzky from Moyes via a lawsuit but a judge threw out most of the league's claims from the suit against Moyes in early October.
In light of the delays associated with the Moyes litigation, the Audit/Finance Committee from the NHL's Board of Governors approved a plan to make Gretzky whole for deferred compensation owed to him by Moyes, and which was never paid as a result of the Coyotes bankruptcy back in September 2009, source have told ESPN.com.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the deal is worth between $7 and $8 million.
"Let me tell you something, Peyton won't sleep much this week because of the emotions and excitement that he's probably feeling. I can't speak for him, but I know what I went through. It's pretty emotional. I spent a lot of years there, like he did, and you become almost friends with the city."
"Indianapolis is similar to Edmonton in that it's not New York or Los Angeles. So you're at the stadium, and the places you go to eat, and the people you meet in the community are the people who are in those seats. So they become friends. They're not just fans, they become more like friends. So it becomes very emotional.
"I know that was a really hard day for me because in one sense I was looking forward to playing again in Edmonton, and in another sense I knew eventually they would start treating me as the enemy."
-Wayne Gretzky comparing his return to Edmonton and Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis this weekend. More from Sam Farmer of the LA Times.
When is the NHL going to repay Gretzky? I brought it up several time in interviews on the 25th anniversary story. All that expansion money owners got when they expanded to Anaheim, San Jose, Florida, Tampa and Nashville, for instance. Thanks, Gretz. But, the thanks goes a little deeper. Gretzky, by reports, is still owed about $8 million in apparently deferred salary from the Phoenix Coyotes when trucking magnate Jerry Moyes walked away, leaving the NHL holding the bag. They idn’t want Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie buying the club and moving it to southern Ontario, and folks like Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and businessman Matt Hulsizer looked at the books and backed away.
-Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal where you can read more on this topic.
I've been trying to avoid flooding KK members and guests with Gretzky stories, but this one is a good read...
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
We take a look at how 99’s move south impacted not only the game of hockey and L.A. sports, but altered the NHL at large and influenced everything from the Canadian Football League to Saturday-morning cartoon viewing.
Tripled the number of NHL teams in California.
After Wayne Gretzky joined L.A. in 1988, the San Jose Sharks (1991) and Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1993) joined in relatively quick succession. The Trade has been credited with contributing to the NHL’s Sun Belt expansion in the States. Florida landed two clubs, the Lightning in ’92 and the Panthers ’93; Minnesota’s North Stars chopped off their first name and dropped south to Dallas in ’93; and Phoenix acquired the Winnipeg Jets franchise in ’96.
Begat Bettman… and all that entails.
Following the success of the Gretzky in L.A., the NHL made McNall chairman of the board of governors. McNall then headed up the hiring of the NBA’s Gary Bettman as commissioner (after David Stern turned the job down). “People always talk about the Bettman strategy of expansion. It wasn’t the Bettman strategy; it was the Bruce McNall strategy. Bettman was hired to enact it,” (Stephen Brunt explains. “The entire destiny of the league, because of this trade and the success in L.A., was handed over to a guy who ended up going to prison.”
from Paul Grant of ESPN,
With all these comparisons flying around, this week we're going to cut through the crud and make a call. Given two players, one active and one retired, in their primes, who would be better? And the best part of it is that you, the user, get the final word.
For our second installment, how about: The two best players of their generation, if not the two best players in the history of the game in Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. This is such a timeless comparison, we're going to do it again, only more lo-fi..
So says Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet and Doug MacLean chimes in too.
from CTV Atlantic,
“I really think this one won't be as long as the last one,” said Gretzky Tuesday during an event at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton. “I think somehow, some way, both sides will come together and we'll be playing hockey sooner rather than later.”
Recent negotiations between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Associationhave produced little common ground.
Another hockey legend says if players are told to stay home, they won’t be there for long.
“I just can't believe they won't get together,” Orr said Monday in Charlottetown. “There may be a short delay, but I can't believe it will be more than a short time. It would be so silly.”
Ron MacLean interviewed Wayne Gretzky after the 2nd period tonight and the topic was mostly the LA Kings.
Wayne Gretzky receives a great welcome form the LA crowd.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
The Los Angeles Kings will reach back to another era on Monday night to try to give their current team a boost of energy in the form of a shot of 99.
The greatest King of them all, the greatest player of all for that matter, Wayne Gretzky will be at the Staples Center on Monday night for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final and the Free Press has learned he’ll drop the puck in a ceremonial faceoff.
continue for some Devils talk…
Wayne Gretzky talks about the great career of Nick Lidstrom.
“What I’d like to see is the Conn Smythe Trophy be renamed the Jean Beliveau Trophy, and have [Beliveau] come onto the ice with the commissioner to present the award to the MVP and then stay by the commissioner’s side for the presentation of the Stanley Cup.”
“You wouldn’t have anyone booing with Jean Beliveau on the ice, so I think that would solve the problem. I think the NHL is about the winning captain getting the Stanley Cup from the NHL president or commissioner. I would never want that to change.”
-Wayne Gretzky. More from Gretzky by Larry Brooks of the NY Post.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So you were probably wondering, where was Wayne Gretzky during all this? After all, the NHL’s Western Conference final could have easily been played for the Wayne Gretzky trophy instead of the Clarence Campbell Bowl. It featured the Los Angeles Kings, the team Gretzky led to the 1993 Stanley Cup final and essentially put on the map, playing against the Phoenix Coyotes, the team he was associated with for close to a decade, first as the team’s managing partner and eventually as its head coach.
What was Gretzky thinking? Who was he cheering for? Did he take any satisfaction from seeing some of the young players that joined the Coyotes organization under his watch - the Martin Hanzals, the Mikkel Boedkers - show some glimmers of their potential?
Instead, Gretzky chose to stay silent, watching from afar, not taking sides, especially as the Coyotes’ ownership saga continues to percolate on, with no definitive end in sight.
But on the morning after the Kings dispatched the Coyotes in five games, Gretzky surfaced to talk about horse racing, about hockey in southern California and about the possibility of witnessing yet another series where his loyalties could be divided.
from Brad Gagnon of Sports Radio Interviews,
Wayne Gretzky joined Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia to discuss the brutality that has riddled the playoffs, resulting in nine suspensions thus far. He also looked at why Sidney Crosby has been one of the focal points of the intensity.
On all the illegal hits thus far in the Stanley Cup playoffs:
“It’s a little bit risqué right now, there’s no question. Emotions are high in every aspect. And if you look at every series right now each and every team is playing with a little bit of a bite, and yeah it’s a little bit surprising. They talk about the Flyers back in the ‘70s –guys like Bobby Kelly, Moose Dupont and Dave Schultz — but you never really saw those guys go after guys like Bobby Orr or Mario Lemieux or Phil Esposito. It was just sort of honest, hard, rough-nosed hockey, and it’s changed — there’s no question — the players are bigger and faster and stronger today than they were when we played, and obviously there’s a lot at stake playing for a Stanley Cup, and emotions are definitely really high and subsequently you’re going to have issues. I think the league is trying to do their best to curtail all the unnecessary stuff in between whistles and things that are going on behind the play. And you know what? The bottom line is you got to win the hockey game. That’s where it hurts the most, not cross-checking the guy in the face. It’s winning the hockey game that hurts players the most.”
On Sidney Crosby’s behavior:
from Bruce McCurdy of The Cult Of Hockey,
Of all the records, the most spectacular run had to be earlier in that 1981-82 season when Gretzky challenged and ultimately demolished the most fabled record in hockey, Rocket Richard’s 50 goals in 50 games. The previous season the great Mike Bossy had equalled Richard’s mark which had stood unchallenged for 35 seasons.
It was clear in the fall of ’81 that Gretzky had the mark in his sights. After a run of 7 goals in 7 periods in late November, including his second four-goal game of the season, Gretzky reached 31 goals early in Game 26. For the rest of that game and the next four Gretzky slumped, scoring nary a goal — albeit with 13 (!!) assists — to fall to just 1 goal ahead of the goal-a-game pace. In the next four games he remained there, scoring exactly one goal in each and reaching 35 goals in 34 games as the Oilers began a five game Christmas home stand. It looked like it would be nip and tuck for several more weeks, maybe until Games 49 and 50 in late January.
more with video highlights…
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Players who competed against Wayne Gretzky are retiring one by one.
Mike Modano called it quits this week. Kris Draper pulled out in July — Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya before him.
“It’s significant that fewer and fewer players have played with him,” said Calgary-based hockey historian James Duplacey, former curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“We’re actually beginning to forget Wayne Gretzky, even though I’m sure if we searched hard enough more than half of his goals would be available for instant viewing whenever we want.”
Nobody under the age of 30 in today’s NHL played in Gretzky’s retirement year, 1999.
Well here we are, just under two weeks away from the North American release of the next installment in EA Sports NHL Franchise, the highly-anticipated NHL 12. I had figured that my blog would slow down a bit around this time. Although I had expected that this would be due to the fact that I would be very busy playing my review copy of NHL 12 around the clock in an effort to get my comprehensive and in-depth review done and posted up the morning of September 13, the game’s release date.
However, as it stands at the time, I have yet to receive said review copy from EA. So, I sent their PR people an email yesterday regarding the current status of my review copy, and now I’ve got some solid answers about the situation at hand.
UPDATE - Pre time-stamp release of 12PM: Added new Gretzky “milestone” video this morning, about an hour before this was set to go up, it can be found at the bottom of this post, as per usual with last second updates of recently breaking news.
Alright, well both of these little news tidbits come from yesterday, but I figured I’d let my recent HockeyFest announcement simmer for the time being, as nothing here is major news, so I figured it could wait a day. Anyway, EA has released a new short blog that consisted of a quick Q&A regarding a few of the new online features, all of which pertain to the EASHL. There was also a new video found on EA’s Swiss YouTube channel, which announced that a few European arenas are to be accurately featured in NHL 12. Then there is some older news, which EA reminded me of by reminding people about it on their NHL 12 FaceBook page. I would have already covered that older news, but it’s so old that it pre-dates my time here at KK.
UPDATE: 4 PM - A new video has just been released by EA featuring Wayne Gretzky talking about the Legends, although there is no new info here, aside from a clear shot of the front of the “Legends Team” uniforms. The video has been included at the bottom of the post.
Earlier this afternoon, some NHL 12 fans on the internet found a new Legends video, posted exclusively on the EB Games (now GameStop) webpage for NHL 12. However, the video was kind of “hidden”, thankfully over the time it took for me to write this update, there has been a new link to this new video released by EA Sports in an exclusive with GameStop’s official site, which makes it much easier to find, and is of much better quality that the original one that was found.
Read on, as I’ll provide a link to this new video ( UPDATE - Days later, I finally have the video included in this post ), which reveals several bits of juicy new info on the Legends, including what their team uniforms look like, some info about unlocking them, and best of all, what their overall ratings will be! Also included in this update is some additional news about the Jets’ new sweaters potentially not being in the game upon release, and some new quick-clips about HUT and the EASHL.
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: borje+salming, chris+chelios, ea+sports+nhl+12, gordie+howe, jeremy+roenick, mario+lemieux, patrick+roy, ray+bourque, steve+yzerman, wayne+gretzky, winnipeg+jets
In an exclusive interview with Game Hunters, USA Today’s branch of video game coverage, The Great One sat down to talk with them briefly about NHL 12, as well as hockey past, present, and future.
Normally, I’d just link to the interview, but it is Sunday, and I’m looking for something to break the dull of boredom that is putting together those “Around the Leagues” updates together. So I’ll bring you the full thing, with some of my own side comments when appropriate.
In what was fairly foreseeable, EA Sports in partnership with GameTrailers TV revealed yet another short teaser about the “Legends” coming to NHL 12. Saved for the very last segment of GTTV’s half-hour block on Spike TV. This confirmed a few highly suspected things, and also killed other possible rumors… but did give us some solid new info for sure.
Yesterday, via an exclusive with gametrailers.com EA Sports released a teaser trailer for the “Legends” to be featured in NHL 12. All but pretty much confirming that this is indeed the “big announcement” they have been talking about since day one. As we are just about a mere month away from the game’s release in Europe on September 9, and North America on September 13.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Twenty-three years ago today, the NHL was rocked by the biggest trade in hockey history. The Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, the centerpiece of a dynasty that had just won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in five years, to the Los Angeles Kings for young talent, draft picks—and $15 million.
Gretzky had already shredded numerous NHL scoring marks, including goals and points in a season, while helping the Oilers pile up goals in a way the League had never seen. The deal pumped life into the Kings, a franchise that had always struggled for attention in Los Angeles, while stunning Edmonton and the rest of Canada.
Gretzky went on to play 11 seasons after the trade before retiring in 1998-99 after three seasons with the New York Rangers. He left the NHL with more than 60 records to his credit.
In honor of the 23rd anniversary of the trade that stunned hockey, here’s a look at 23 of those records that figure to be all but unbreakable.
Most career points: 2,857
Consider this: The last player to have more than 140 points in one season was Mario Lemieux, who put up 160 in 1995-96. Twenty seasons of averaging 140 points wouldn’t be enough to catch Gretzky’s career record.
Darren Pang catches up with the Great One to discuss Game 7 in Vancouver.
From Randy Boswell at Postmedia News via Calgary Herald:
The Hockey Hall of Fame is casting doubt on the authenticity of a vintage puck, touted as the one Wayne Gretzky used to surpass Gordie Howe’s all-time NHL scoring record in 1989, that sold at a Quebec auction in March for more than $50,000.
The Toronto-based hockey museum has told Postmedia News that it possesses the real puck that put Gretzky -then playing for the Los Angeles Kings in a game against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers -a notch above the legendary Howe with 1,851 points.
But Classic Auctions president Marc Juteau, the Montreal-area memorabilia seller who sold the other puck to an unnamed Canadian collector on March 29, has insisted that the provenance of that artifact is solid and thoroughly documented by a former timekeeper at Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum.
From Johnette Howard at ESPN:
Several league sources confirm paying Gretzky what he’s owed has been discussed by NHL’s remaining 29 owners during the long, often difficult, effort to resell the Coyotes.
So what’s the hang-up? The sharply worded reasons given when I call and ask league insiders are startling: “Every one of the 29 owners is part-owner of Coyotes now, and they’re not looking to spend a penny more, OK? … Who gives any coach or GM $8 million a year anyway? That was a mistake. No wonder that franchise went into bankruptcy. … Wayne’s done all right in life. He’s just having a little pout. … There was a lot of support to pay him. There was also sentiment the franchise went down and he should suffer like everyone else who got stiffed.”
There are words for how Gretzky is being treated by the NHL right now.
Indefensible is one. Shoddy is another.
Gretzky isn’t “like everyone else.”
This is the Great One we’re talking about. The man who is easily the NHL’s most important figure of the last 30 years.
Nick Kypreos of Rogers Sportsnet did a 3 part, one on one interview with Wayne Gretzky.
Well worth the 26 minutes it takes to watch all three parts (2 & 3 are below).
Wayne Gretzky turns 50 on Wednesday and NHL.com is ready to party in celebration. Throughout the rest of Tuesday, we will be showcasing some of the Great One’s greatest highlights on NHL.com as a primer for tomorrow’s celebration, which will feature numerous stories and videos, as well as a career retrospective in photos. To whet the appetite for the day-long celebration, here is some of what Gretzky discussed Tuesday afternoon on NHL Live! Join us again tomorrow for all things Gretzky!
If anyone was thinking that crashing a regal celebration of Wayne Gretzky’s 50th birthday would be a great idea, the “Great One” has some disappointing news on that front.
Gretzky joined Bill Clement and Don LaGreca on “NHL Live!” on Tuesday afternoon to discuss several topics about the state of hockey—and what his plans are for Wednesday, when he turns 50 years old.
from Bruce Cheadle of the CP at the Toronto Star,
The tousle-headed kid who turned the hockey world on its ear is hitting 50.
Wayne Gretzky, Canada’s male athlete of the 20th century, trips the half-century odometer on Jan. 26, a memory milestone that may pack as much impact for an aging generation of Canadian baby-boomers as for the retired hockey god himself.
If 50 is the age of introspection and taking stock, Gretzky could serve as a case study of what we’d like to think it means to be Canadian:
Fiercely competitive but humble; self-assured without swagger; instantly recognizable yet somehow chameleon-like; bland but not boring; fabulously wealthy without ostentation; a non-aggressor who punches well above his weight.
from the TSN.ca staff:
“He scores big goals when you need to score big goals for your team,” he told TSN’s Gord Miller. “He’s a winner, he’s won a Stanley Cup and a gold medal. He’s a special player.”
While acknowledging his natural abilities, The Great One attributes Crosby’s success to his incredible drive and the great example he has sitting in the Penguins owner’s box.
“We all know how talented he is and how good he is but to me it’s his work ethic,” Gretzky said. “He’s the hardest working guy in the league and that’s why he’s the best player in the game. He’s got the right guy Mario there in Pittsburgh, he’s got a tremendous leader right in front of him.”
Click here for more.
That’s the question that The Globe and Mail asks Roy MacGregor, Sean Gordon and Eric Duhatschek today, with varied responses.
Today we turn our attention to Tampa Bay, where Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has 19 goals in 19 games and leads the NHL scoring with 34 points. His strong start comes on the heels of a 51-goal breakout season that saw him share the Rocket Richard Trophy with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
We asked our writers: Is it time to put Stamkos up with Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as the best players in the NHL?
My opinion, though unsolicited for this particular informal poll, is an unwavering
. Having seen Stamkos transform, first-hand, in his two and less-than-a-fourth seasons in the NHL from a kid with shaken confidence to the game’s most dynamic goal-scorer who seems to improve on a daily basis that we’re seeing now is more than enough to convince me of as much.
And, believe it or not, Stamkos indeed does have - wait for it - some Gretzky in him, on and off the ice, as Duhatschek so wisely observes.
I’m sold. Seems at least one-and-a-half of the three writers polled here are too.
Let the debate begin…
The Bolts Beat, 10/12/10: Lightning Home Opener, Road Trip Ahead, Devils Dilemmas, Wisniewski & More
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, Jon, Mike and Mark recap the Lightning’s successful home opener and preview their road trip ahead. The boys also discuss the current (disasterous) state of the New Jersey Devils and the James Wisniewski/Sean Avery incident (how about that? “Sean Avery” and “incident” in the same sentence? Shocker…) Finally, JJ blows his top (again) in the latest installment of “What the Hell Was THAT?”
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dominic+moore, ilya+kovalchuk, james+wisniewski, mario+lemieux, nate+thompson, sean+avery, sean+bergenheim, steve+downie, steven+stamkos, t.j.+brodie, vincent+lecavalier, wayne+gretzky
Today’s three cheers (an all-goalie edition!) for those who deserve as much from their performances of a night ago:
***Cheers to Edmonton’s Nikolai Khabibulin, who turned aside 26 Florida shots in the Oilers 3-2 win over the Panthers, for his second win in as many outings on the young season. After off-ice woes and injury problems recently, Khabibulin’s solid start to 2010-11 is a great sign for both he and a young and exciting Oilers club. If he can return to form and stay healthy, the many pundits who automatically tabbed Edmonton for the Western Conference cellar will end up looking awfully silly come season’s end.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brendan+morrison, lanny+mcdonald, mario+lemieux, miikka+kiprusoff, mike+vernon, niklas+hagman, nikolai+khabibulin, t.j.+brodie, the+bolts+beat, tim+thomas, tuukka+rask, wayne+gretzky
The NHL’s arrival in Europe last week coincided with two exhibition games between the leagues teams and their Russian rivals; the KHL. First up was an aggressive affair between the Carolina Hurricanes and SKA St. Petersburg. In a role reversal between leagues, SKA came out playing aggressively, so much so, in fact, that Hurricanes coach, Paul Maurice pulled his star players; Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward from the game as it deteriorated into a slugfest which resulted in a 5-3 victory for SKA. The other interleague game featured the Phoenix Coyotes gaining a measure of revenge for the NHL, by defeating Dynamo Riga 3-1. The interleague games were part of a longstanding tradition of play between the NHL and Russia. With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at some of the most famous and infamous matchups between the two rivals.
1. The Montreal Canadiens versus Central Red Army
December 31st, 1975
This matchup featured the most successful franchises from the NHL and the former Soviet league as the Canadiens played host to the Red Army team. Montreal featured Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey among others against Valeri Kharlamov, Vladislav Tretiak, Vladimir Petrov and Boris Mikhailov. The level of play was as high as the 72’ Summit Series as the star players from each team were entering their prime. Despite outshooting Red Army 38-13, the Canadiens were forced to settle with a 3-3 tie, due to the outstanding play of Tretiak. This game would cement Tretiak’s longstanding relationship withe the city of Montreal, as the team would go on to draft the goaltender 138th overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, despite Soviet players not being allowed to compete in the NHL.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexei+kasatonov, bob+gainey, bobby+clarke, boris+mikhailov, guy+lafleur, igor+larionov, jari+kurri, ken+dryden, larry+robinson, mario+lemieux, mark+messier, mike+bossy, montreal+canadiens, sergei+makarov, valeri+kharlamov, viacheslav+fetisov, vladimir+krutov, vladimir+petrov, vladislav+tretiak, wayne+gretzky
“I love the game. I say all the time that if it wasn’t for hockey, I wouldn’t have anything in my life. I’m very grateful for it. Right now, I just enjoy watching the games as a fan. The players seem to be getting better every year. The game is great. It’s more exciting every year.”
-Wayne Gretzky. More on Wayne from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
(David) Carter (executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC) said (LeBron) James’ move from a relatively small market in Cleveland to South Florida is akin to the 1988 NHL trade that sent Wayne Gretzky—hockey’s biggest star at the time—from Edmonton to Los Angeles, a move that gave the game new cachet in the United States and especially the Sun Belt.
-via Michael Wallace of the Miami Herald.
One big difference, Gretzky went to LA with multiple Cups, LeBron going to Miami without a championship.
Wayne Gretzky is predicting a showdown between Team Canada and Russia in the men’s hockey gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics.
“And I pick Canada to win gold,” he told a roaring crowd Friday night at Molson Canadian Hockey House….
“The best thing that probably could have happened to this team was a close, tight game and it shows this team can win under pressure,” Gretzky said. “Going forward, I think they’ll just get better and stronger every night.”
He predicted Canada, Russia, the U.S. and Sweden will face off in the semifinals, though he didn’t rule out Finland showing its mettle.
from Kevin Mitchell of the Leader-Post,
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper played reporter Friday night with a couple of iconic story subjects.
Harper, a hockey buff who was in Saskatoon for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner, grilled hockey greats Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky during a lengthy Q-and-A session before an appreciative sellout audience.
Howe was a surprise addition to the podium, brought onstage to a prolonged ovation while Harper and Gretzky talked about the first meeting between the two puck legends—at a Kinsmen celebrity dinner in Brantford when Gretzky was 10.
continue for some great stories from Howe and Gretzky…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“You know what, they’re an exciting team,” Gretzky told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The Great One cited Caps coach Bruce Boudreau and his history as a prolific junior player with the Toronto Marlies (Boudreau posted 165 points in 69 games in 1974-75).
“I think it goes back to when he played for George Armstrong with the Toronto Marlies,” Gretzky said. “He loves that transition hockey, head-manning the puck and going to the net. It’s very similar to the way the Marlies played in 1974-75 when they won the Memorial Cup. Obviously, the players are bigger and stronger these days, and the goaltenders are probably a little more athletic and they have bigger equipment, so it’s tougher to score. But the actual style of play, transition and head-manning the puck is similar.”
And just like Gretzky, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey leading the way offensively on those Oilers teams, the Caps have their own version.
“Their top guys, Ovechkin, Semin and Green, play a hard-tempo game every night,” said Gretzky. “They lead by example and pull the rest of the guys with them.”
“I’m not here for the NHL, I don’t work for them, but I think we all have the same common goal to make the game of hockey bigger and better worldwide. I think the NHL knows and understands that. I hope that when they (the KHL, the IIHF and the NHL) meet in Vancouver (during the Olympics), they can all come to an understanding that will make both leagues happy.”
-Wayne Gretzky at the KHL All-Star Game. More by Risto Pakarinen at The Hockey News.
from Mihira Lakshman of CBC,
The company that has just signed a letter of intent to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes is also reaching out to Wayne Gretzky as a potential partner, Hockey Night in Canada contributor Pierre LeBrun told Saturday’s Hotstove segment.
“I’m not getting the sense that he wants to do that,” LeBrun said.
It’s expected that Gretzky will also receive an offer from his former teammate and good friend Mark Messier to coach Team Canada’s entry at the world championships.
Since the NHL purchased the Coyotes from bankruptcy court this fall, Gretzky has remained silent on the situation and his future plans.
“He’s ticked off, and why wouldn’t he be,” HNIC analyst Mike Milbury speculated.