So says the Great One, anyway. Hey, after a week of a free-agent signing blizzard and that "I'm so glad to be in (fill in the blank)" talk, the decks were cleared Sunday for this one news nugget, nothing more than a confirmation, really, but a big one: Wayne Gretzky, adding the title of head coach to his ownership portfolio in Phoenix with the Coyotes (a press conference is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. Eastern):
"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."
Hmmm. Guess all those Stanley Cups, Olympics, scoring titles and hosting Saturday Night Live were just the setup. But is this about winning hockey games in the new NHL, or is it about selling the sizzle? If Gretzky the coach can even approach the unassailable standards set by Gretzky the player, this will go down as a success. But just ask Larry Bird. Hall of Fame players trying to lead ham-and-egg players is no easy trip. And the Coyotes aren't exactly the second coming of the '85 Oilers.
So you took the weekend off. So did the Leafs, actually. Aren't you just kicking yourself for missing Ray Whitney signing with Carolina? Get caught up here.
In Detroit they're already burying their long rivalry with the Avalanche (and are you ready for Cujo in Pittsburgh? Tampa Bay? Anywhere else we've missed?).
Is Nashville going hockey mad with the signing of Paul Kariya? Um, no.
Rick Nash is staying in Columbus, but some rival GMs might be questioning what's up with the Blue Jackets.