So was Wayne Gretzky right to show up, or should he have stayed away?
That question was still reverberating around a downtown Toronto hotel today where hockey luminaries were gathered after the Hall of Fame ceremonies last night that saw Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, Brett Hull and Lou Lamoriello inducted as one of the glitziest groups ever to grace the proceedings.
Just as Martin Brodeur and various Devils players surprised Lamoriello by organizing a private jet to attend the ceremonies, so too was Gretzky's attendance a tightly kept secret until the last moment.
Going in, some believed Gretzky should stay away, and thus avoid upstaging the event. After all, his unhappiness with the decisions the Bettman adminstration has made regarding the Phoenix Coyotes were certainly cause for him to boycott any and all NHL events.
Others thought Gretzky should join the party, and that if he didn't, his absence would put a pall over the glamorous event.
In the end, Gretzky did attend, and while he had a few non-committal words to offer and had his picture taken, he didn't wreck the evening for the players and Lamoriello. In fact, people were genuinely happy that he did choose to come to Toronto, putting the prestige of the event ahead of his business differences with the league.
He made the right choice. Trying to make sure he never presents himself as bigger than the game has always worked well for No. 99.