Great Player, Bad Coach? Wayne Gretzky Typifies Subpar Efforts of Hockey Greats

Daniel CappellCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2009

After years of going to battle on the pond, many hockey greats wind up behind the bench attempting to master a new aspect of the game. Boasting highlight reel goals and record-setting numbers, it is tough for an organization to turn down the opportunity to have a former great commanding the troops.

One person that comes to mind when thinking of legends turned coach is Wayne Gretzky. Oddly enough, this master of game is now struggling to put together a winning team. Gretzky's failures run deeper with his management of the Canadian team at the Olympics, one which would have left him lucky to still be coaching peewee.

People may think I'm crazy for stirring this pot and suggesting that Gretzky's presence at the rink is best felt in the rafters. I just hate to see such a great player tarnishing his career by struggling to stay in the game through coaching.

Yes, it is great publicity for the NHL having Wayne's name attached to the Phoenix Coyotes, but the Great One's successes on the ice are being replaced by memories of coaching a team that celebrates shootout losses.

Gretzky is not the only person trying to extend his career by stepping behind the bench. Take Guy Carbonneau, for example; a guy that can't spark a playoff run and spends his days acting pissed off in the media, trying to blame the team's failure on Alex Kovalev.

The list runs longer of players with successful careers that end up dusting around the league trying to spark a new hockey lifestyle.

Bryan Trottier, a hockey great, lasted a mere 54 games behind the bench with the Rangers. Larry Robinson, although he won a Cup, has an all-time losing record, one that would be way worse without the Devils.

Clearly coaching should be left to the guys that didn't excel on the ice. These greats were good at bulging twine; there is no room for a clipboard in their career profiles. Number 99 should consider hanging up the shirt and tie, as he is clearly not fit for the task at hand.

Don't get me wrong—he is still the greatest PLAYER to ever step on the ice. Nonetheless, I hate seeing him coach a bottom feeder team that has little hope of winning the Cup. I'd much rather see Wayne in another Ford commercial than see his team get run over on a nightly basis.

Wayne has had success throughout his career, but I don't think he'll be making the Coyotes howl anytime soon.