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The “Great One” sits down with NHL Live!


Former hockey superstar turned former coach, Wayne Gretzky, took some time off from his fantasy camp in Las Vegas, Nevada to sat down with NHL Live! yesterday to talk rumors, his pick for MVP, the Caps, and Sidney Crosby.

Russia Bound?: There have been recent reports that Gretzky was offered a coaching job in the KHL and that him and his family would be relocating to Russia. “I know one thing, I am not going to Russia,” Gretzky said. He also went on to say that there only one true professional hockey league in this world, and that was the NHL. Gretzky and Mark Messier took a trip out to Belarus for the KHL all-star game back in January where they participated in the ceremonail puck drop. It is an honor on any occasion to be asked to participate in that aspect of the game, but how will the KHL feel about Gretzky now after that comment?

His vote for MVP: Before stepping down to ease the financial burden on a team headed for bankruptcy, Gretzky was the head coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. In the 4 years Gretzky coached the Coyotes they were 143-161-24, not what you would expect from a team coached by one of, if not, the greatest player to ever play the game. For the first time since prior to the lockout, the Coyotes are playoff bound with the help of Russian netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, a player Gretzky feels is worthy of this year’s MVP. “In my mind Bryzgalov has been the most valuable player,” Gretzky said. “Nobody picked Phoenix to be where they are today and in my mind that’s how you pick an MVP.” He understands that the award will most likely go to someone like Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin , and if it does he feels they definitely deserve it, but Bryzgalov is the winner in his mind.

On the Washington Capitals: When asked what he feels the Capitals need to do to win the Cup this year, Gretzky had a lot to say. We have heard all along, especially with this years Olympics, that goaltending is a huge factor in winning hockey games. Gretzky agrees. “I hate to say it, but it comes down to goaltending. Your goaltender has to be better than their goaltender. You gotta have the best goalie, and that’s why Montreal won with Roy, and that’s why New Jersey wins with Brodeur, the best goaltending seems to win.” Aside from goaltending, they will have to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins “at some point and time“. Though he did not give any predictions as to who he feels will win it, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins are definitely a favorite. “Crosby is a good leader and he’s won, and their goalie (Marc-Andre Fleury) is going to be a superstar and he’s won,” Gretzky said. “Pittsburgh is going to be tough.”

On Sidney Crosby: Gretzky has known the superstar many peg as the “Next One”, and compare to him so often, since Crosby was in his early teens. Gretzky describes Crosby to a T, “He’s what everyone says he is. He scores big goals in big games, he wins Stanley Cups, he’s unselfish with his teammates, he works hard every game, I always love players who work hard.” Gretzky said. Crosby received a lot of criticism for his most noted, “big goal” in a “big game” this past February in Vancouver, but Gretzky feels that those big goals are more important than anything. And while he didn’t speak about who he knows Crosby to be as a person, he did say that his parents should be most proud of who he is off the ice.

You can see all three segments of Gretzky’s chat with NHL Live! on NHL.com

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