Wayne Gretzky Talks TNT's NHL Broadcast, League Expansion, More in B/R AMA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2021

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: Wayne Gretzky addresses fans prior to the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time. Now, the Hall of Famer is facing a new challenge in the booth.

Gretzky signed on as a studio analyst for Turner Sports and already made quite the impression when he challenged Charles Barkley to a shootout. He joined B/R for an AMA session to discuss TNT's NHL coverage and to weigh in on a variety of other topics.

The following is the full transcript from the session.

@BR_OpenIce What’s been most surprising about your first two weeks on TNT? Tired of Biz yet?

Love Bis. I think Bis is something really special. I think people can really relate to him. He wasn’t a star. He worked really hard in his role. He’s turned himself into a cult following. He’s very intelligent and knows how hard it is to work in the NHL, so he’s been an absolute joy to work with. It was a really nice fit for him to join me. As time goes on, we’ll get more comfortable. I like the fact we don’t get too in depth because we know how hard it is to make the league. The surprise was how much fun I’ve had. 

@Dlanor How did you lose in a fight to a guy with a perm? 

I had a perm too - so two guys. The fight was actually really silly. It’s something he and I can laugh about. If you’re gonna rate fights, it was probably rated the worst fight in the history of the NHL.

@CJShoe What was your welcome to the NHL moment? 

There’s so many great moments. My first game was in Chicago stadium. My dad was at the game. My dad loved Stan Mikita. One of my first faceoffs was against him and my dad was so happy to see me going against his guy. That was probably one of my favorite moments when I first joined the league.

@Leeds1991 What’s the best advice your dad gave you as a young hockey player?

He gave me this about hockey and about life: failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Not just in hockey, but in life. It was a simple quote but I always remembered it.

@BK1010 How hard was it to convince Edmonton to trade McSorley with you to L.A.? 

Glen Sather was one of the smartest GMs ever. He knew the importance of Marty and what he would mean to L.A. Marty fought his way through hard work to make himself a hockey player. People love the finesse stars like Crosby or Ovi, but Marty is a great role model because he wasn’t an 18-year-old destined to make the league. He was always the last guy to leave the ice. He was an incredibly hard worker and he’s proof that with hard work you can make it.

B/R COLLECTIVE QUESTION: Best chirp you’ve ever heard? 

You had to check your feelings in the locker room. If you’re not chirping at other guys, they usually don’t chirp your way. I was relatively quiet, but all in all I didn’t receive a lot of chirping because I was a sleeping dog. It’s the guys that do the barking that tend to hear more than other guys.

@LiquidC Would you be genuinely happy to see Ovi break your scoring record? Do you ever get tired of people asking you about it? 

These next two years are big because he’s still a little bit younger. He’s off to a phenomenal start. There’s not one player who is bigger than the game itself. It’s only positive. If Alex does break the record. I’ll hopefully be one of the first guys to shake his hand. I think it’s great for our sport. I’m proud of what I accomplished. I did everything I could do. If he breaks the record, good for him.

@Just_in_Time With Vegas and now Seattle in the fold, which city deserves the next NHL expansion team and why? 

I haven’t thought about it a whole lot, but just looking at it from a practical point of view, the three that I would say: I think Kansas City because the Chiefs and Royals do so well. I think the city of Houston because the Stars have helped grow hockey down there. The third one that’s most obvious is Quebec City. There is nothing like hockey in the province of Quebec. I have no knowledge of this, but those are the ones I’m interested in.

Rapid Fire: 

@LiamHolmes30: Your favorite city? 

The city that I loved the most without question when it came to leaving Edmonton or L.A. without question was Toronto. I grew up idolizing the arena, the atmosphere, the fans in Toronto, how the game is respected in that city. I went to high school there for two years, so I would say without question Toronto.

@GrumpyMuffin: You get to build a PP unit consisting of only guys you played with during your career. Who you putting out there?

The obvious ones for me would be Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Paul Coffey and Larry Robinson. You can probably name another 5 because guys like Luc Robitaille, guys like Jari Kurri, they’re hall of farmers, how could you not include them. I played with all those guys in the NHL or Team Canada. Our powerplay would be pretty solid with those 5 guys on it.

@IcetoMeetYou37 The goalie that gave you the most trouble was ____

Without a question, Eddie Belfour. I think I only scored one goal on him. During pressure moments, he was one of the great pressure goaltenders of all time.


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