Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: wayne gretzky
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, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, 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.
via Stan Fischler of Game On,
Wayne Gretzky’s recent comments on MSG Network clearly indicate that The Great One is in no rush to return to an ice job.
In an interview with MSG’s Al Trautwig, Gretzky admits he’s content watching his kids grow as athletes. Wayne took in a Penguins-Rangers game last week from an MSG ice-side seat alongside his still gorgeous wife Janet.
Who knows, maybe there’s a job for Wayne at the NHL alongside Brendan Shanahan? Wayne and Janet reportedly are shopping for a luxury apartment within a mile or two of the NHL headquarters. Coincidence, or what?
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
I wanted to bounce a couple of rumours off Gretzky while I was at it. One - that he might be interested in getting involved in a second Toronto-based NHL team that would operate out of Vaughan in the north end of city.
“Nothing to it,” he said, although he mentioned that he played hockey Sunday nights for the Vaughan Nationals on the same team as Bill Kitchen, brother of former NHLer Mike Kitchen.
Another idea making the rounds: That Hockey Canada will ask him to coach at the 2010 world championships this spring, post-Olympics. So far, they haven’t contacted him about the opportunity, but he didn’t rule it out either. Gretzky did note that he’d played golf for a couple of days in California with former Oilers teammate Craig MacTavish, who will coach Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup over Christmas. Gretzky put himself in the same category as MacTavish - of a coach currently between jobs but looking eventually to get back in.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
For Gretzky, Monday night was not about the fallout from the sale of the Phoenix franchise, but rather a celebration of the career achievements of the Hall of Fame inductees—Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull.
“It is what it is right now,” Gretzky said. “Right now, it’s just my time to sit back and enjoy my kids. You know what? The game is bigger than any individual or any person. Right now, it is just not a part of my life. It’s as simple as that.”
And, contrary to the speculation, he says he harbors no bitterness.
“No, not at all,” Gretzky said. “What’s there to be upset by? It’s the greatest game in the world. There’s nothing better than our sport. I’m very proud of it. Life goes on.”
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Lou Lamoriello’s 67-year-old eyes did not deceive him. He did see Wayne Gretzky in his downtown Toronto hotel lobby on Monday morning, and the Great One will attend the Hockey Hall of Fame formal proceedings in the evening, according to Gretzky’s agent, Darren Blake.
Whether Gretzky will grace the induction ceremony with his presence in the Great Hall has been a talking point surrounding this year’s festivities.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
If Wayne Gretzky, the single greatest attraction in hockey history, chooses to pass on tomorrow night’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony, what an embarrassment that will be for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his fellow owners.
And what an indictment of the damage remaining from the attempt to salvage the Phoenix Coyotes.
The very fact that the NHL has cut a deal to buy the Coyotes, which has basically excluded Gretzky and the money owed him, may save them a few million dollars in the process but won’t be worth the alienation created with the most important player the game has known. The relationship between Gretzky and the league is the worst it has ever been no matter what rhetoric is spread.
Of all that Bettman has bungled over the years, this may be his largest gaffe from a public relations point of view. Hockey is a hard enough sell in the United States and selling out Gretzky will end up costing them more in the long run than it would have cost them to pay The Great One what he was owed.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will take place in Toronto beginning this weekend and the question that’s got everybody abuzz in hockey circles right now is, will he or won’t he? Will Wayne Gretzky attend with his wife Janet when the careers of five of his closest friends in hockey are honoured? Or will he sit it out, part of his lingering discontent with the NHL over how shabbily he was treated during the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy hearings by an organization that he helped put on the map in the first place?
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...the NHL does seem to be offering words in support of Gretzky, even if action speaks louder. The league at this point appears to be offering talk, which obviously is much cheaper than $8.2 million.
“The decision was made this summer when the League decided to make a bid to purchase that it couldn’t assume Wayne’s contract. That was discussed with Wayne and his people before we filed our bid and they understood the rationale,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an e-mail to Slap Shots on Friday night.
“That doesn’t mean he has to go it alone. We committed to him that we would do everything possible to get him paid outside the bankruptcy process,” Daly added. “We have suggested our willingness to pursue claims on his behalf and assist him in pursuing his own claims. And he remains able to seek recovery out of the pot of money that will be paid to the bankrupt estate.”
So the NHL claims it will assist the greatest assist man who ever has laced up a pair of skates but it will not guarantee he will get his money even after all of the untold revenue he produced for the league both directly and indirectly in the form of expansion fees from warm-weather markets made possible by Gretzky’s success in Los Angeles.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Right now, the NHL’s bid provides for between $11-$12 million to three potential creditors – Gretzky, Moyes and the city of Glendale. Gretzky isn’t thrilled that there is no certainty of collecting. Apparently, he is not asking for all of the money up front or in some lump payment, but an acknowledgement that, at some point, he will collect.
One league source says that will happen.
“We recognize that a lot of us have jobs because of what he’s done for a long time. What has happened this summer has been totally unfair to him, but, because he’s Wayne Gretzky, it all ends up on him ...This is important, and we realize it is important.”
That is 100 per cent the proper philosophy. But, there is one concern.
At this time, it was not possible to get the board of governors to vote on raising the purchase price from $140 million to $148 million. And, there may be slight resistance to doing so. Some of the governors are apparently unhappy with Gretzky’s public disappointment, and could let that affect their decision.
That is a ridiculous attitude.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Wayne Gretzky remains in radio silence, but both the NHL and the Canadian Olympic Team are making attempts to reach him.
Commissioner Gary Bettman emailed Gretzky last Thursday, hoping for the opportunity to meet with him face-to-face. According to NHL sources, the Great One said he is “not yet ready”, preferring to lay low, as he has done since stepping down as Coyotes head coach.
The league badly wants to repair the relationship with its greatest player and ambassador, realizing that no matter what happened in Phoenix, it’s not good for the sport to have him feeling alienated and unwanted. As both a player and a coach, he’s dealt with his share of criticism, but this particular situation has hurt him the most.
Considering how he stood up for Phoenix as a market – despite ample evidence to the contrary – and the beating taken from Canadian fans as a result, he was stunned to find out that he may not be paid even if he started the season as coach.
continued plus more NHL notes…
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Wayne Gretzky broke a slew of records during a singular Hall of Fame career that literally rewrote the NHL’s record book, but none were as bittersweet as the biggest record of them all—the career points total.
Twenty years ago today—Oct. 15, 1989—Gretzky, then with the Los Angeles Kings, scored a goal against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, to give him 1,851 points—a mind-boggling total considering Gretzky was in his just 11th NHL season.
continued and Bob Miller with the call in the video…
In case you missed or were unable to watch Kings Ransom on ESPN, you can view it below.
Kings Ransom is the story of the 1988 trade that brought Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
from Peter Berg at ESPN,
My relationship with Wayne goes back to the 1990s when he invited me to play in his softball tournament in Brantford, Ontario. He wanted to get some actors in the game and I was a big hockey fan, having played it growing up in Chicago. I thought it would be a small game, but there were about 20,000 people there. First play of the game, I got a grounder at shortstop and threw out the runner and the crowd started booing me. Turns out it was Gordie Howe. I was humiliated. That began my personal relationship with Wayne.
continued and the video below is an expert of Kings Ransom which debuts on ESPN tonight at 8:00pm ET.
via Noah Love of the National Post,
Los Angeles Kings general manager hopes he can bring Gretzky back to the place where he left his biggest stamp.
Lombardi told Toronto radio station the FAN 590 on Tuesday that he would like the Great One to come back to the Kings in an advisory capacity.
While nothing has been finalized, Lombardi joked that Gretzky could be the team’s “minister of character.” L.A.‘s young squad will have star veteran leadership for the first time in years this season in Ryan Smyth.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Even the biggest names are all like moths to the flame, and for proof look no further than Gretzky’s long-time rival and close friend Mario Lemieux, who was so desperate to sell his interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins at one stage that he had a willing buyer named Jim Balsillie lined up to take the team off his hands.
In the end, Lemieux couldn’t do it. He kept the team instead.
Eventually the Penguins ended up with a new building and a new superstar in Sidney Crosby (who still lives chez Lemieux) and last year, Mario earned the Stanley Cup as an owner to go with the two he won as a player.
For Gretzky, it will likely unfold the same way. Somebody, somewhere down the road will want to hitch his wagon to Gretzky’s star, however tarnished it may be today, if not as a coach, then in some to be determined front-office role. That, too, is the nature of pro sport. It starts anew every year, providing opportunities for renewal and redemption.