Kukla's Korner

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The NHL and Wayne’s World remain mutually exclusive destinations

If there’s a more glaring absence in the hockey media world than that of Pierre LeBrun’s empty seat on every Satellite Hotstove segment on Hockey Night in Canada. As he’s now working for TSN, LeBrun doles out his nuggets of wisdom on Friday evening, and while he offers intriguing tidbits about Blues forward David Perron’s recovery from a concussion, the Flames’ acquisition of Blake Comeau and what might be the topic du jour on the CBC Saturday evening in the Ontario Teachers Pension Board’s decision to not sell their stake in their blue-and-white nest egg, it’s his note about the most glaring absence on the Winter Classic Alumni Game’s roster (Mark Messier’s apparently not going to play for the Rangers due to shoulder surgery) that merits the biggest mention:

Wayne Gretzky made it official Friday in a text exchange with ESPN.com: He will not play in the Winter Classic alumni game.

The Great One was touched by the way the Rangers (particularly GM Glen Sather) reached out to him recently, but, in the end, he politely declined to participate. As noted before in this space, Gretzky already had holiday plans with his family. Later on Friday, the NHL released the complete rosters for the Dec. 31 alumni game in Philadelphia. (The Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers is Jan. 2.)

Gretzky told ESPN.com via text that he spoke with Sather this week. It was a “nice conversation,” Gretzky said, but his answer remained the same.

Speaking of Gretzky, he is still owed about $8 million to $9 million from his Coyotes contract. The NHL met with former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes in a mediation session on Tuesday. The league launched a lawsuit against Moyes in March 2010. Should mediation eventually produce an agreement, Gretzky will finally be paid the money he’s owed, and frankly, it’s long overdue.

Having said that, a source told ESPN.com the mediation session between Moyes and the league did not go swimmingly, so, at this point, it’s anyone’s guess when this will be resolved.

Continued, and it goes without saying that the NHL’s #1B priority after finding a viable buyer (or destination) for the Coyotes remains bringing Gretzky back into the fold.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com