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Gretzky’s Imitators

The other night, during the awfully boring Phoenix Coyotes/San Jose Sharks game, my wife turned to me and said, “You know, these Coyotes games just aren’t as fun without Wayne Gretzky.” Of course, she wasn’t referring to the forechecking system that Gretzky used as opposed to Dave Tippett’s snore-inducing neutral zone trap. No, she meant that we wouldn’t get to see Gretzky blowing his lid behind the bench, making all sorts of amusing faces of fury.

With that in mind, I started looking to the rest of the NHL’s coaching fraternity to see if they could maintain the same level of entertainment with their “expressiveness.” Let’s take a look.

Gretzky Move #1: Hailing The Cab
It’s a classic Coach Gretzky move—trying to get the ref’s attention while screaming bloody murder and waving a finger (“We’re number one!”). Here’s Wayne doing what he does best.

Who’s trying to out-do the Great One? Here’s Cory Clouston trying to do the same thing; the intensity might be there but the pose is all wrong. Rather than hailing a cab, Clouston’s move is more like when Harrison Ford says something with importance with a finger point.

Gretzky Move #2: Put Your Hands In The Air
Here we have Gretzky invading Phoenix-area hip hop clubs, waving his hands like he just don’t care. Well, maybe he does care a little; I mean, he does appear to be singing along with passion. Consider it the male equivalent of Elaine’s thumb dance from Seinfeld.

Now we’ve got Joel Quenneville trying to dance like Gretzky, but he’s failing miserably. Quenneville’s dance is somewhere between hands-in-the-air and crosscheck-the-air. Of course, maybe Joel just goes with the notion that real men shouldn’t dance with their hands above their heads.

Gretzky Move #3: Look At My Palm
Oh, the look of shame, of disbelief. When things just don’t go right—when Ilya Bryzgalov lets up a soft goal or Shane Doan takes a bad penalty—Wayne feels fear, anger, frustration, all of those negative emotions that lead to the dark side. Note the expressive look on Wayne’s face beneath his hand, like a vampire hiding from the light.

Down in Anaheim, Randy Carlyle’s emotions aren’t on display like Wayne’s are. His pose is more like Ric Flair saluting the Four Horsemen, and he doesn’t look like he’s on the verge of tears. He is, however, still looking at the inside of his hand, so Randy’s taken the first step to Being Like Wayne.

Gretzky Move #4: The ANGER!
Veins poppin’ and eyes buggin’, if you’ve seen a Coyotes game in the past few years, you know this look. It’s just pure white-hot anger, and nobody does it better. Hey, if you were in ProStars with Bo Jackson, you’d probably be pissed too.

Our other favorite angry coach is John “Shut Yer Yap” Tortorella. He’s not quite up to Gretzky levels of fury, but he’s getting there. Chris Drury has the same look as someone who’s embarrassed about his angry drunk uncle at a wedding.

Gretzky Move #5: Double-Chin Sneer
For whatever reason, when Wayne Gretzky gets mad behind the bench, he sucks in his chin and glares out laser beams at whoever is in his path. No one else does it better. In fact, no one else does it, period. Here’s the Gretzky Double-Chin Sneer in all its glory.

I think it’ll be a while until another coach masters that look.




Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky


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