From, “Five questions with Wayne Gretzky”
Turning to Edmonton now, why did you make a phone call to help the Oilers recruit Justin Schultz?
“I think it was the right decision for the young man. Listen, when you’re 22 years old, or 21 years old, your dream is to play in the National Hockey League. Once you’re playing in the National Hockey League, then it’s like, ‘OK, I’ve gotta win the Stanley Cup. But your focus is first to make it, and the only way you can make it is to get ice time. I just really felt for him he was going to get the ice time in the right situation, with a good coaching staff and a good organization that is bringing young guys along. I really believed it was the right fit for him to go to Edmonton. Hopefully it works out for him.”
Jeez, Gretz hasn’t been associated with the Edmonton Oilers since a former owner, who turned out to be ethically challenged, traded him to another ethically challenged owner. That was way back in the 1980’s. There are kids in the NHL today who weren’t even alive on the day of the trade that changed hockey forever.
On that day I had a practice at Pickwick Ice Rink in Burbank. Larry Bruyere was on the ice with some kids. He shouts out to me, “Did ya hear? Marty McSorely is a King.” I laughed back, “And Mike Krushelynski too!”
Our Ducks weren’t even a team yet. And now, all these years later, the guy who sold hockey in California and the American Southwest, did a dirty on our Ducks.
Fact is, I can’t disagree with what TGO told Schultz. The young D-man would get a chance to play in Edmonton. Despite Bob Murray’s promise of the same in Anaheim, we all know Bob Murray has trouble keeping his word.
Who knows, maybe Sami Vatanen will be more successful than Justin Schultz. There is that pesky truth thingy though. Sami is playing in Norfolk while Justin is up with the Oilers. And as Gretz might have said, our Ducks don’t have a reputation for bringing young guys along.
Note: On the Saturday edition of NHL Tonight Kevin Weekes reported a possible trade sending Corey Perry to the Bruins was in the works. Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe dismissed it. Other than an innocuous reference by Eklund that “something big is happening involving a Pacific Division team,” it would appear the chatter has no legs.