Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gretzky Finally Put Out of Misery Behind the Bench

While he had an amazing playing career that is literally second to none, I have to agree with The Canadian from Canadian vs. The Yanks when she said on her Twitter: "I'm sorry, but I support this move. He was a great player. I'll leave it at that."

Well, I hope she doesn't mind me picking up on where she left off.

The moment that Wayne Gretzky said he wanted to be coach of the Coyotes, many people I heard will automatically giving him the Jack Adams Award for best coach, but the issue is-- you can be a great player, but you cannot teach greatness. That's just a fact. Ted Williams, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas-- great players, but terrible coaches. Gretzky is definitely going to fall into that mode.

And while his record of 143-161-24 isn't overly awful, the goals-for were progressively worse through all four seasons (246-216-214-208) and the team overall wasn't that stellar. You'd think with the name alone, the players would want to come to play for him, as well as being in Phoenix-- should have been a haven. Yet, nothing really came to be. Plus, you look at how Gretzky's personality changed when behind the bench, he became a stressed out looking fella. Just look at the header picture-- you never really saw that out of Gretzky, even when he was a player. You almost wonder how much of this was a gimmick for him to recoup the money he was losing as an ownership partner and how much he actually wanted to be a coach in the first place.

Yet, as of right now, Gretzky remains part-owner of the Coyotes, but that could change whenever Judge Redfield T. Baum makes his decision. However, Gretzky should take this as a learning experience. Like I said, very few good players make good coaches. You can make a case for Larry Bird and Joe Torre, but more often than not-- the great players can't coach greatness. Maybe with this time off, Gretzky can lick his wounds for his first failure in the game of hockey. It could be used to recharge his batteries and maybe find his smile again, as it has been lost through these years behind the bench for the Coyotes. The stresses of creating a winning team, bringing more fans in by his name alone, and dealing with the off-ice financial strife seem to have gotten to Gretzky and really broke his spirits.

Has Gretzky's allure in the hockey world been damaged by this foray into the coaching realm and failing?? Odds are it hasn't been damaged that badly, but it definitely not good for him to go out like this. Not even showing up to camp for the first two weeks and then finally stepping down, it brought about the ire of many for abandoning his team, like Allan Muir of SI and Stephen Brunt of Globe and Mail questions the difference of Gretzky and someone like Dany Heatley. For the first time in a while, Gretzky could be considered a bad guy in the hockey world. More focus on Gretzky is going to come with the documentary of Gretzky's trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles is coming out called, "A Kings Ransom" on ESPN on October 6th.

While the falling out process will be hot and heavy for the next few days, who knows what the final outcome for Gretzky will be and what he'll need to do in order fix any of sort of damage he's done to his reputation. Odds are many will be able to forgive Gretzky in time, but you can forgive and never forget. Will he coach elsewhere in the NHL?? I don't think he'll be the top candidate for any opening, but to keep him around as an ambassador is always a good thing for whatever team. Who knows if we'll see him for a single team, but you can bet that the NHL will do anything to keep his face in the hockey viewing public's eyesight just because.

Plus, if there's nothing else Wayne Gretzky has given us since he's this greatness from Bud Light and the Bubble Hockey Boys.


The Canadian said...

I'll admit it... I've watched my fair share of Coyotes games and every time I was left wondering "WHYYYYY does he even coach?"
I know the talent they have down there but they just couldn't seem to excel. I can see good things happening for the Yotes in the next few years if they can get an effective coach in.

Wait... a great hockey player... falling out with a team amidst turmoil?! Gretz is moving to the KHL isn't he!?...

ScottyWazz said...

I hadn't though of that, but if the, no, no-- North America, lost Gretzky to the Russian?? Biggest. Coup. Ever!!