Monday, August 08, 2005

Barry Smith to Join Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix

The Phoenix Coyotes will hold a 4 pm press conference to introduce Wayne Gretzky as their new head coach, with former Red Wing associate coach Barry Smith, former Coyotes player Rick Tocchet, and interim head coach Rick Bowness as a trio of assistant coaches. Says Wayne:
"I'll be honest with you, when I was 22, 23, 24, I never thought I'd be a coach in the NHL. But I'm excited about the challenge....The last couple of weeks I've been following my son's baseball team around and I kind of got the itch to coach, as silly as that sounds....By no means am I Scotty Bowman, but I know the game, I love the game, I have a really good staff and we have a really good team. It's exciting. I haven't felt this way since I was 17."
For the NHL's all-time leading scorer, the question on everyone's mind is whether he can communicate the great vision he had on the ice to the players he coaches. He was successful as executive director of Team Canada, putting together Canada's first gold medal in 50 years in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has already committed to that post for the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Gretzky will remain the team's managing partner and keep his 18% ownership in the Coyotes. Some credit can be given to him for the growth of hockey in Phoenix and getting them the new $220 million Glendale Arena, which opened in December 2003. Other Wings News Ray Whitney signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. The two-time All-Star was a consensus flop in Detroit. Coming off a career-high 80 points in 2003-2004, he managed only 14 goals and 29 assists with the Wings last season. He was slated to make $2.66 million this season with the Wings before getting bought out.


At 8/08/2005 11:33:00 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

While I'm not sure this is a great move for Gretzky as far as his legacy, it's a great move for the NHL. It has been the numbr one subject on talk radio all morning, and normally these guys NEVER talk about the NHL!

Bet Barry Smith will be very close to co-coach, the way Sather and Muckler were at Edmonton during TGO's glory years.

At 8/08/2005 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Yeah, Gretzky doesn't have much to gain legacy-wise (though really how much would it tarnish his reputation if it didn't work out?).

I'm glad for Barry that he found a position, and a good position at that! It was pathetic when he was talking about running hockey clinics in Detroit if he couldn't find a coaching job. What's with the trio of assistant coaches? Are there other examples of that in the NHL?

At 8/08/2005 09:54:00 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

I think Gretzky felt he owed Bowness some consideration because the Yotes kinda left him hangin waiting for Gretzky to decide if he was gonna coach or not.


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