Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

"Not The Great One"

02/14/2020 at 10:51am EST

from Emily Kaplan of ESPN,

It's a Friday night at the hockey rink, and a dozen kids rush to the first row of the 100 level and begin calling for their hero. "Gretz-key! Gretz-key!" they yell, waving pens and asking for autographs.

No. 99 finally walks over. He's lanky, at 6-foot-4, with long, angular features but a boyish grin. He's still getting used to fame and adoration. No, it's not The Great One, but the greatly named one: 23-year-old Vyacheslav (Slava) Gretsky, a forward for HC Dinamo Minsk who has become the Kontinental Hockey League's biggest cult hero.

Gretsky is just a rookie, adjusting to the speed and physicality of the KHL, the world's top pro hockey league outside the NHL. He was a minus-3 in his first game, so coaches shaved down his ice time. He played just three shifts, for 3 minutes, 4 seconds, in Game No. 3. After that, he was scratched twice.

Fans didn't care. By his eighth KHL game (when he had yet to record a point), Gretsky had received 2,992 votes over a two-week span to be named to the KHL all-star game.

continued

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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.

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