Monday, August 08, 2005

Gretzky to Coach the Phoenix Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that The Great One will be behind the bench for the 2005-2006 season. Rumours of the move have been circulating for months so today's announcement is no surprise.

So is the greatest player in the game's history set to tarnish his legacy?

Gretzky doesn't think so, "It's kind of ironic when that when I broke in professional hockey at 17, that I was told I was too small and too slow and I wouldn't make the NHL. And now it's kind of flip-flopped and the sense is well you can't be a good coach because you were a great athlete. I wasn't naturally gifted with size or speed. Everything I did in hockey, I worked for. And that's the way I'll be as a coach."

Let's face it, Gretz has his work cut out for him. The Phoenix Coyotes are not a very good hockey team and while they have added some nice veterans like Brett Hull and Petr Nedved, they have their work cut out for them if they expect to make the playoffs in what should be a very competitive conference. There have been many other great players who made the move behind the bench with mixed success. Some, like Brian Trottier, had experience in assistant positions and still failed. Gretzky will be stepping behind the bench of a mediocre team and he will be doing so with no coaching experience.

Gretzky will have plenty of support behind the bench with coaches Rick Tocchet, Barry Smith and Rick Bowness. However, he will still be the man calling the shots and the one who will take the fall should the Coyotes not find success.

The other angle to this is of course the fact that Phoenix will be entering a new building coming off a year long absence. They need to sell tickets and they need to generate excitement. What better way than to have number 99 behind the bench?

Canuck fans will have the first opportunity to see Gretzky in his new role as the Coyotes open the season in Vancouver on opening night.


habs fan said...

I agree, I think the great one is a winner, while he was playing and afterwards. He's proved it with his work in the Canadian National Program, but coaching is a different story.

I'm worried he may tarnish his legacy, but I believe his hockey experience and work ethic will translate into this role as well.

The Canuck Fan said...

I'm not really too worried about his ability to coach, more that he has an extremely difficult job ahead of him and it's unlikely he will find success very soon.

Should be interesting to watch anyway.

james ipswich said... to vote for the great one. his score is a little on the low side.