February 19, 2002

Wayne Gretzky, crybaby?: What's with The Great One? Is he serious? Is he really upset that every other country has fans who are rooting against Canada and for their own team? Is the criticism of the Canadian effort so far, 'American Propaganda' or is it coming strongest from Canada? Is it comical or sickening? Or is this all a well-worked effort at taking some of the pressure off of his players heading into the elimination round?

posted by 86 to other at 07:35 AM - 14 comments

His comments did seem a little paranoid..."the world is out to get us"?? I think he had a right to be pissed at Hamrlik, though. There is no place in hockey for cheap shots like that, and he should be suspended for the rest of the tournament.

posted by dentarthurdent at 07:40 AM on February 19, 2002

I'm not sure if this is the Canadian 'little brother' syndrom rearing its ugly head, but I do know someone should have got a match penalty for that "world class cross-check." Canada has definitely put itself in this all or nothing, we're the best, its our sport position. Same as american baseball, its expected to be the best. I think peeps need to get ready for cultural change. I'm Canadian, but I don't expect a counrty of 30,000,000 to compete with the rest of the northern hemisphere. I wish I could throw Wayne a bone on this one, but propoganda is a subjective term, and he's spinning some of his own.

posted by garfield at 08:04 AM on February 19, 2002

That cross-check was pretty bad. If Hasek had freaked out on Fleury (which he did a little bit, but only after the cross-check), I could agree with it. Fleury was sprawled out, kicking his dainty little feet at Hasek, making more of an attempt at being distracting than getting up. That little jerk. Didn't really warrant Hamrlik's cross-check though. It should have been a penalty, but not a suspension. As far as Whiny Wayne's "everyone's against us" thing, he may be right. For some reason I've definitely found myself rooting against the Canadians in every game so far. I don't even really know why. Must be all that American propaganda. Anyway, all I'm saying is that if there is not widespread glee over Team Canada's 1-1-1 start, the terrorists have already won.

posted by Samsonov14 at 08:27 AM on February 19, 2002

I should hope every other country wants Canada to lose! Isn't that what the Olympics are about? I am not impressed with the Canadian mafia style threats though. Poor sportsmanship.

posted by srboisvert at 09:38 AM on February 19, 2002

It's not like Fleury could have gotten up that quickly anyway. He was sprawled over Hasek, and with the skates and the pads moving around (you have to be careful with those skates) - it makes it all the more difficult to get up. Anyway, that in no way warranted Hamrik's cheap-shot (and, don't forget about him spearing the other guy just before the cross-check). And Gretzky is right in saying that if a Canadian had done it, everyone would be all over them. And yeah, that Islanders/Rangers game in a week's time is going to be something. Especially now. shrug. Stuff like this, if anything, is a major motivating factor. The Finns are going to have it tough.

posted by mkn at 10:14 AM on February 19, 2002

I love the fact that the same "American Propaganda" machine that is blamed for inculcating an anti-Canadian bias in hockey was also blamed by the Russians for blowing the figure skating crisis out of proportion. So let me get this straight: Americans are pro-Canada in figure skating but anti-Canada in hockey. Looks like the American media can't get a break. Blame the media! Blame the media!

posted by holden at 11:27 AM on February 19, 2002

He is just a sore loser trying to rally his troops and motivate. As if being in the goddamned Olympics shouldn't be motivating enough. Look for Sweden or Russia to take the gold, with the US having an outside chance. Terry Frei thinks it was a planned tirade as well, saying that the complaint was hallow. What a poor way to react to your team being a dismal flop, though the expectations have been a little blown up. And Theo, keep the #$! off my goaltender (oops...did I reveal my NHL allegiance?)! That crosscheck was dirty and I was disappointed to see it, but by the same token, cheap shots like that happen and go unpunished in every game. I am not defending it, but for the love of god, even the little midget (Fleury) himself shrugged it off. He really is a disgrace to all that is sacred and holy about hockey; Thornton should really have taken his place. It is disappointing to see Wayne act this way. Hey, doesn't his team reside closer to Mexico than Canada, and isn't he paid in US dollars? The real shame is that he is representing some of the coolest people on the face of the planet, our buddies up North, and those who I know from the great Up There are ashamed of his little rant. I just can't stand a sore loser (your skating pair notwithstanding).

posted by adampsyche at 01:47 PM on February 19, 2002

And I quote: To prove just how commonplace this type of play has become, Fleury himself just shrugged his shoulders when asked about the play. "I'm fine," he said. "It's part of the game."

posted by adampsyche at 01:50 PM on February 19, 2002

Side note: The Islanders don't play the Rangers for over a month. What schedule is Wayne looking at? And anyway, with the massive amounts of bad blood between these two teams, one questionable cross-check isn't going to add much more animosity than there already is.

posted by skwm at 06:18 PM on February 19, 2002

Wayne Gretzky is the Great One not just for making history on the ice, but also being a great sportsman/gentleman. It is not easy to lose it like he did during the interview; the pressure and the pain must've been backbreaking. I, being the proud Canadian that I am, applaud him for being emotional and passionate (albeit perhaps a little bit too much, especially on nationwide television). I think what he said came from the heart, and from what he sees on the ice and between players (look now no one seems to mention that point he made, even though it's one of the main focii of Gretzky's anger), not what we as fans see on TV/in the stands. Lots happen in locker rooms and hallways that gets sweeped under the carpet of sports cliches and "well you know we have great respect for the other team" bullshit. Most of us hate that crap, but now someone's got the guts to speak out, and we're putting him down? And we're embarassed? Disappointed at his actions? What crock indeed. All that aside, I will cheer for Canada tomorrow when we play the Finns. I have to admit, this team is not what we had hoped for, but I stand by it all the way, fingers crossed and all. Actually, I wouldn't mind much if we lose in this Olympics. When Vancouver gets 2010, then we will win on home soil, and that will make the half century wait fade away.

posted by dai at 12:43 AM on February 20, 2002

Hey, I will cheer for Canada too, because most of my favorite players are Canadian, and I generally like Canada and everyone I met from up there. But for real for real, the paranoia crap, the everyone wants us to lose crap, it is tired. I don't know what you are talking about that came from his heart; hell, I can't find anything in any of the quotes that I would say was positive for anyone, except that when the tournament is over we shall stand tall (paraphrase). And that statement is a pretty empty one that that: who wouldn't want to stand tall? I never questioned Wayne's integrity or sportsmanship, and nobody is perfect. No one wants to see phony interviews and ridiculous cliches, but the content of what he said was absolutely ridiculous. That everyone else wants to see the Canadians lose? Well, shouldn't they!?! Or, maybe the US, Russia, Fins, and everyone else should want to see the Canadians win? Puh-leeze. Maybe if he diverted more energy towards fixing whatever is not clicking with his team, he would have better results. I could give a crap what he says: it is how you speak on the ice that counts. Go out and win, and be proud. Go out and lose, be proud as well. I think what he said came from the heart, and from what he sees on the ice and between players (look now no one seems to mention that point he made, even though it's one of the main focii of Gretzky's anger), What exactly are you refering to? What does he see on the ice and between players? The check? The everyone-hates-me mentality? If you could clarify what the main focii was of the anger, that would help.

posted by adampsyche at 08:18 AM on February 20, 2002

Sorry dai...I am Canadian and I am embarrased by the conduct of Gretzky and Quinn. If those comments came from the heart then they both need transplants... Both Gretzky and Canada's coach, Pat Quinn, suggested that there will be retribution. "In the old days (of international play), we couldn't pay them back, so that's why we lost our tempers," said Gretzky. "Well now they've got to answer the fiddler in about a week (when NHL play resumes) and payback's going to be awful tough. It's not going to be pretty." Quinn said, in the NHL, there would have been an immediate response. "But it doesn't play in international rules, so we say you can't do it, you can't do it," said Quinn. "... But one week from now, we get all the payback we want." That is just incredibly low class. While Quinn is a brawler and that sort of thing isn't surprising from a guy who holds Domi's leash all year, Gretzky used to at least pretend to have class while he let his team's goons take care of business. There is no place for threats like that in the Olympics. Just play the game and if you don't bring home medals at least bring home some dignity.

posted by srboisvert at 10:31 AM on February 20, 2002

Eric Duhatschek has a good column on the subject:

It looked as if Gretzky had made a calculated decision to shift attention away from his players and onto himself. As a strategy, it is one he learned from watching Sather, his former boss with the Edmonton Oilers, operate during Gretzky's early playing days.
I'll buy that for a dollar. There is some reason to what Gretz said, but he exaggerated everything so much that it really comes across as an atempt to grab attention. And it worked.

posted by D at 01:29 PM on February 20, 2002

It's Gretzky trying to recapture Phil Esposito's glory in his '72 Summit Series speech. It's a very calculated outburst, and it's a great move by Wayne G. He's not only deflecting the attention away from his players, but he's creating a war-like "Canada vs the World" mentality in his team. This rant was purely tactical. Way to go Wayne!

posted by Succa at 03:22 PM on February 20, 2002

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