August 08, 2005

Coyotes Appear Set To Name Gretzky New Coach: As someone who's always liked Wayne Gretzky, why do I just get the feeling this will end up bad?

posted by dyams to hockey at 08:37 AM - 33 comments

He really doesn't have much to work with yet. But being "the great one" means finding ways to get the job done. I wouldn't be suprised if halfway through the season, he dons the skates again and hits the ice to do a Michael Jordan. He still probably plays better than most of the guys in the league. I wish him and the Coyotes all the best.

posted by melcarek69 at 10:15 AM on August 08, 2005

Man, if you weren't allowed to hit him in his prime, what would the penalty be for hitting him as a player-owner-coach?

posted by yerfatma at 10:42 AM on August 08, 2005

I wouldn't be suprised if halfway through the season, he dons the skates again and hits the ice to do a Michael Jordan. It won't happen. He had to be convinced to make an appearance at that outdoor exhibition game 2 years ago, so I can't see where he'd tarnish his career by playing in the NHL again.

posted by grum@work at 11:03 AM on August 08, 2005

The problem I have is the same as with any of the few "elite" players in sports that organizations believe just HAVE to be great coaches. Gretzky has no coaching experience, yet they will automatically put him behind the bench for a NHL team? I just get so sick of having to sit back and watch former great athletes (Jordan, of course, is the obvious example) tarnish their legacy with some of these other post-playing days shenanigans. My wish is that one of them will someday just fade into the sunset and let us remember them as players ONLY. I'm sure there's a remote possibility he'll be a great coach, too, but more likely is the scenario where he has to step down after experiencing utter failure.

posted by dyams at 11:06 AM on August 08, 2005

Some of the "talking heads" on ESPN were trying to make the case that becoming a coach is a bad move for Gretzky. They maintain that a poor stint as coach will ruin his legacy as the"Great One" I personally think that way of thinking is pure hogwash!

posted by daddisamm at 11:08 AM on August 08, 2005

I could not have said it any better dyams. Although I do wish the Great One best of luck

posted by jojomfd1 at 11:26 AM on August 08, 2005

i know i'd want to play for him.

posted by garfield at 11:29 AM on August 08, 2005

Fact is one has nothing to do with the other. Gretzky was an awesome player, the best! As far as coaching goes, he may fail, who knows. One thing for sure is one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I see it this way, sunday night baseball has Joe Morgan as their announcer, he is TERRIBLE at it. He's boring, and biased. Yet, he was an outstanding second baseman and I still see it that way. If Wayne fails, he is still tops and that won't change.

posted by melcarek69 at 11:30 AM on August 08, 2005

Agreed. Whether he succeeds or not will have no effect on his legacy or stature in the game. And hey, he might do fine. Look at Larry Robinson or Jacques Lemaire. You can be a top-shelf skills player and still move behind the bench and have success. I wish him the best too, and I think wait-and-see is a perfectly acceptable stance with this.

posted by chicobangs at 11:34 AM on August 08, 2005

He'd make a better GM than a coach.

posted by mkn at 11:41 AM on August 08, 2005

Yes - his legacy is pretty much untarnishable. Which isn't even a word. That's how good Gretzky is. As for his lack of experience, he is now had three years of management experience behind him, and a lifetime of playing the game at its highest level, I wouldn't count it unlikely that he will be a success.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:43 AM on August 08, 2005

Ted Williams tried to make it as a baseball manager. It didn't work out at all. I'm pretty sure his reputation wasn't tarnished by that attempt. My wish is that one of them will someday just fade into the sunset and let us remember them as players ONLY. Since most of them retire in their 40s, what are they supposed to do with their time for the next 30-40 years? How do you turn off that competitive urge, or walk away from all their friends in the sport? In Gretzky's case, since he can only be a national hero every 4 years or so, I can see why he'd want to fill his time. Also, I can't imagine too many other former players whose advice would be more respected by current players than Wayne Gretzky. If he suggests you try something different when you have the puck, I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about...

posted by grum@work at 11:57 AM on August 08, 2005

Larry Robinson was a great player but only moderate success as a coach although he won a stanley cup he still had a below .500 coaching record. Fact is most of the "elite" athletes don't do well as coaches; maybe it's their expectations of others or maybe the players they coach are intimidated by their greatness, who knows. But these greats have earned the right to try their hand at whatever they want given the great memories they've provided us.

posted by gr8czrsgost at 12:07 PM on August 08, 2005

Ted Williams' coaching debacle was 30-some years ago, long before the days of ESPN and many, many other shows, networks, publications, etc. that bombard us daily with every move and every occurence that takes place with these types of situations. A very small percentage of coaches actually succeed and last in any sport. Again, I hope Gretzky succeeds and becomes a fabulous, legendary coach. But if this fails, whether anyone thinks it tarnishes any of his legacy or not, there will always be that addendum to any Gretzky conversation: He was the greatest player ever, but he bombed as a coach. I just don't like legends taking that type of chance with such a flawless history. Ted Williams' coaching attempt came at a time when it was much more easily forgotten. Gretzky's every move will be filmed, critiqued, criticized, etc.

posted by dyams at 12:20 PM on August 08, 2005

Phil Jackson could be a name considered for being a far better coach than player. Of course that will be tested this year more than any seeing as how he's has had such unbelievable talent around him all these years. Having done the Chicago and L.A. thing, he will also be one to watch this time. Now Gretzky can do well with the proper talent. Unfortunately, at this point he's got quite a lot of work ahead of him. But once again, the"Great One" has my best wishes and respect.

posted by melcarek69 at 12:28 PM on August 08, 2005

I think this is a mistake for Gretz. Unles he hates being around his family, I can't fathom why he would take on a grueling schedule again. As a player, yeah, as a coach of a third rate team? Got me. Maybe he's trying to lure big name players to Phoenix. That would make sense from the stand point of him being an owner, but I don't see the benefit otherwise.

posted by harpofan at 12:43 PM on August 08, 2005

An interesting column (published July 19) that looks at both possible sides of this move

posted by dyams at 01:00 PM on August 08, 2005

Obviously my link didn't show up. Go to:

posted by dyams at 01:01 PM on August 08, 2005

Wow...Slow day for the Filter

posted by melcarek69 at 01:23 PM on August 08, 2005

3rd rate? hardly : D.Morris, P. Mara, B. Ference, R Suchy on D. Langkow, Comrie, Doan, Nedved, Nagy, M.Ricci, M.Johnon, & O. Saprykin, with Nash and Nazarov (he may not win, but he'll throw down) as enforcement. Brian Boucher between the pipes. With a year off, the only thing this team did was get better.

posted by garfield at 01:31 PM on August 08, 2005

and I forget Denis Gauthier, Sean O'Donnell, and somewhat successful sniper by the name of Brett Hull. Give him 15 PP goals on the year.

posted by garfield at 01:38 PM on August 08, 2005

Ted Williams' coaching debacle was 30-some years ago, long before the days of ESPN That's a really good point. I wonder if people eat up negative stories like it seems or if that's strictly a lazy sports media feeding us what's easy. Would Ted Williams' failure with the Senators/ Rangers be remembered differently if there had been dozens of reporters, both local and national, competing to file "interesting" reports and asking 25 guys the same 5 questions every day.

posted by yerfatma at 01:48 PM on August 08, 2005

As a player, yeah, as a coach of a third rate team? I can't begin to guess which team will be "third rate" this year. With the player movement and new rules, it could be a crapshoot for the analysts. Last year's crappy defensive team could be this years dynamic offensive dynamo. Well, except for Washington. They are going to be VERY bad. Unless Ovechkin can score 100 goals, they are going to get run over. It's one thing to have a lot of room under the cap during the free agent frenzy. It's another thing entirely to sign nobody during that time.

posted by grum@work at 01:49 PM on August 08, 2005

dynamic offensive dynamo? Blah. Me need thesaurus!

posted by grum@work at 01:50 PM on August 08, 2005

The BlackHawks updated in one really good spot...Goalie! I love my Hawks and I love hockey but the BHs are just like the damn Cubs and Bears, saving money and finding the cheapest good players. Why didn't they go for Hull or Roenick or Amonte? They may all be getting old, but compared to what they have done, I'm only impressed with the new goalie. It may just be one of the better defensive teams with a far less than adequate offense. But like it goes, an all-star team doesn't always make a champion, ask the Yankees and Lakers about that.

posted by melcarek69 at 02:58 PM on August 08, 2005

By the way, I know Khabibulin signed as the highest goalie. With a year off for everyone, goalies will have the most training to do. It's anybodies cup to win this year.

posted by melcarek69 at 02:59 PM on August 08, 2005

garf - admittedly it happened in a bit of a dead time for hockey (pre lockout, August 2004) when moves can go unnoticed but Langkow was traded to acquire Saprykin + Gauthier and has signed a new contract with Calgary. I recall seeing a column someplace about star athletes becoming coaches (a month or two back when the Gretz coach rumours started). Some don't make it (ie Trottier with the Rangers) but on the other hand, Larry Bird certainly didn't tarnish his legacy with his coaching stint in Indiana. I wish him the best but there is very little he can hope to do as a coach that will come anywhere close to his legacy as a player.

posted by gspm at 03:48 PM on August 08, 2005

Melcare, I to am a BH fan and from Chitown. I don't think Wirtz would take back either. Don't forget Roenick and Amonte are both ex's. I think their is alot of bad blood there, but money can buy love, right? The guy they picked up for the net still has to be better than the aging Jocelyn. I hope we do ok this year, it will be interesting. GO SOX!

posted by volfire at 03:53 PM on August 08, 2005

oh shit...that's right...thanks gspm. can't have your trade and eat it....d'oh.

posted by garfield at 03:57 PM on August 08, 2005

Whether it ends bad or good for Gretzk, I wish the guy all the luck in the world. He is going to have all eyes on him watching his every move.

posted by tina at 04:07 PM on August 08, 2005


posted by tina at 04:30 PM on August 08, 2005

Whether it's Gretzky of Jordan, I still think they are the best of their respectable sports. Coaching ,good or bad , is just another chapter in a great book.

posted by volfire at 04:45 PM on August 08, 2005

Even if Gretzky is a horrible failure as a coach, it will not tarnish his legacy as a player. The previously cited Ted Williams is a perfect example of this. In my opinion, the only truly all-time great player who has tarnished his playing days after retirement is OJ Simpson.

posted by dales15 at 11:32 PM on August 08, 2005

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