Crosby ‘Way More Talented Than Gretzky’? Uh, NO

Wayne Gretzky, the undisputed most dominant team sports athlete of all-time, turned 50 earlier this week.

Wayne Gretzky

(Not Great. Greatest.)

While guesting on the Dan Patrick Show today, another NHL great, Jeremy Roenick, was asked to compare Gretzky to Sidney Crosby.

Instead of the usual, reverential platitudes about both, Roenick gave an unvarnished (and much appreciated) opinion this morning that absolutely knocked me off my barstool chair.

“The era now, the players are so much better. The goaltenders are so much better. The equipment is so much more advanced, it would really hard to compare the two eras, but Gretzky was by far the smartest player but I think Sidney Crosby is definitely way more talented than Wayne.”

Bless Roenick’s heart, but no one in modern sports history was more dominant when compared to his peers than Gretzky. Save perhaps Babe Ruth in the immediate seasons after he became a full-time hitter.

As proof, the chart below shows Crosby and Gretzky compared to their peers during their best statistical seasons.

Wayne Gretzky Sidney Crosby Statistical Comparison

 (Top statistical seasons: Crosby ‘06-07, Gretzky ‘81-82)

It was tough to pick Gretzky’s best statistical season, because there were multiple years in his career that he rung up similar numbers. Crosby has led the NHL in scoring once so far in his still-young career, so his body of work is incomplete. But consider that Gretzky accrued the above numbers at age 20.


It’s folly to ascribe Gretzky’s ability to any one personal characteristic. The only evaluation you need is to look at his jaw-dropping numbers compared to the best his peers had to offer at that time to verify that he wasn’t great. No, Gretzky was the greatest. Read more…

Montana, Gretzky, Smith Progeny Still Undefeated

It’s the only high school football snack bar that sells autograph pens. At any given game you may seen Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Will Smith, or even Tom Cruise in the stands. I attended an Oaks Christian High School game last season and it’s actually kind of hilarious: The real Hollywood High.

You probably know by now that Montana, Gretzky and Smith all have sons who play football at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village (near Los Angeles). The update is that starting quarterback Nick Montana, a senior, has led the Lions to an 8-0 record so far, and a No. 5 spot in USA TODAY’s Super 25 football rankings. Oaks Christian, in fact, hasn’t lost a game since Oct. 19, 2007 — a 29-game win streak, 22 of those victories directed by Montana. Read more…

Joe Montana Now Assistant Coach For Son’s Team

At my high school we had football coaches who weren’t really football coaches. They were just gym teachers or history teachers looking to pick up an extra paycheck on the side. So as you’d expect, we weren’t really the most well-coached team in the area, and our record reflected this.

Too bad we didn’t have the sons of any Hall of Fame quarterbacks at our school, or maybe we could have convinced their dad to come teach us how to actually play the game. Oaks Christian in California, who has actual football coaches, does have the son of a Hall of Famer on their team in Nick Montana, and now his father has signed on to be an assistant coach with the team.

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Patrick Roy Reportedly Offered Avs Coaching Job

The Colorado Avalanche finished dead last in the Western Conference this season and are now a noxious combination of old and untalented. (Joe Sakic actually created the Rocky Mountains with his slap shot. True story.) With few opportunities to get better quickly, the team’s turned to the old standby: bring back the old star to coach.

Patrick Roy

Or so it seems, anyway. Patrick Roy’s been on the short list for awhile for the general manager or head coach position with the Avs,  and the DENVER POST now reports Roy has been offered the coaching position currently held by Tony Granato. Perhaps Roy will bring his son with to become the first goaltending/enforcer assistant coach in history.

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Speed Read: Artest Once Saw a Chair Kill a Dude

Reality used to be a friend of Ron Artest’s. However, it was long before the public met the kid from St. John’s a decade ago. For example, no one would be surprised to find out the new Gatorade/Tiger Woods cartoons seem like mini-documentaries to the Tru Warier because he has secretly considered himself the NBA’s Dr. Doolittle for years.

Ron Artest, Tru Warier

Therefore, we shouldn’t be shocked to find out reality’s been stiffing his calls again. After a questionable ejection in last night’s 111-98 Rockets loss to the Lakers to tie the series at one game apiece, Artest entertained the media with alternating moments of clarity speaking about the ejection and tales about that one time he was in Space Jam II as directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Apparently, this is the first time in Artest’s storied violent past that he remembered a pick-up game where tempers flared and one player snapped the leg off a nearby table and threw it with enough force to pierce the heart of another. By the way, Violet Palmer would only call a flagrant one on that.

One expert on keeping it real is Skip to My Lou himself, Rafer Alston. Eddie House’s yipping dog act (which is only the third-most irritating version on this Celtics squad) wormed its way under the skin of the boy from Queens, causing this rather understandable reaction:

 

The head slap will probably take the Orlando Magic’s only nominal point guard out of an upcoming game, a rather unappealing proposition after the 112-94 posterior-kicking administed by the Celtics last night. Ron Artest would like to know what reality would eject him for chattering with Kobe Bryant about his flailing elbows while a head smack only earns double techs.

He might start by asking the woman found in Dirk Nowitzki’s home Wednesday. Surely, one of the eight aliases she’s used in previous forgery convictions can speak to the matter. Also, maybe one of them is a lawyer that can explain why she was arrested in Nowitzki’s house for theft of service and probation violations.

Dirk Nowitzki

(”No, man… I was just asking if you saw ‘House’ last night.  Why so sensitive?”)

And maybe one of those aliases once killed a man with a table leg from 20 feet. Hey, it’s no stranger than knowing Ron Artest took the Houston Rockets to a plane of existence Tracy McGrady never could: the second round.

Your hail of bullet points today may seem a bit odd, but there’s a reason for that:

Sasha Cohen

Holly McPeak

Philadelphia Union logo

Who will be ejected next in the NBA Playoffs?

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Feds Charge Owner Who Sold Gretzky With Fraud

You might remember Bruce McNall, the “billionaire” who brought Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings from Edmonton and later drove the team into bankruptcy and went to jail for almost five years after admitting to defrauding six banks out of almost $250 million. But what about Peter Pocklington, the Oilers owner who traded Gretzky?

Peter Pocklington and Wayne Gretzky

(Peter Pocklington eyes dollar signs in the distance after selling Gretzky.)

Well, he’s no longer the Oilers owner, and he’s left Canada, and not because of the hate Canadians feel towards him for trading Gretzky. As THE GLOBE AND MAIL details, he fled to the U.S. to escape a series of bad business deals and angry investors seeking blood. Now the CBC says that he’s been arrested at his home in Palm Springs and charged with bankruptcy fraud.

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COYOTE UGLY: Gretzky’s Ridiculous $7M Salary

As troubled pro franchises in America go, it’s hard to do much worse than the Phoenix Coyotes. As we mentioned before, the franchise is bleeding money at an astonishing rate, to the point that one former NHL official said, “If I were offered the team for a dollar, I’d say no because you can’t fix it.”  So yeah. You would expect the Coyotes, then, to be cutting unnecessary costs at all opportunities. And you would be dead wrong.

Wayne Gretzky The Coach
(Gretzky, visibly outraged that he only makes seven times as much as a regular coach.)

According to the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL, Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix’s head coach, head of hockey operations, and part owner) pulls down an absolutely absurd yearly salary. In a league where head coaches make about $1 million a year, Gretzky has been pulling down at least $7 million a year since signing a new contract in May 2006. That is not a typo: $7 trillion (okay, that is a typo) million. The thought, according to the GLOBE AND MAIL, had been that Gretzky would sell tickets. Err:

“He doesn’t translate to one ticket sold,” a source said. “They pimped him so much, but he didn’t represent $1.”

Not only that, but the situation is only worsening. Read more…

The Russia Threat Does Not Scare Wayne Gretzky

After decades of the Cold War, the overall smugness of Putin, and most recently the invasion of Georgia, it was about time that somebody had the guts to stare into the great red eyes of Mother Russia and tell them that they don’t scare him! But who would have thought that man would be Wayne Gretzky?

Wayne Gretzky coach Phoenix Coyotes

 (”This is how little you scare me, Russia!”)

During a speech at the Economic Club in Canada yesterday, Gretzky addressed a number of issues, one of which was why he doesn’t believe the KHL, Russia’s new start-up hockey league, will threaten the existence of the NHL.

And evidently, Gretzky has some experience when it comes to second-tier hockey leagues.

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Brog: N. Ryan Says Clemens’ Denials ‘Unfortunate’

Nolan Ryan appeared today on Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show and made it clear that he in no way supports the PED-denials of fellow Texan Roger Clemens (audio): “It’s just a shame that Roger has gotten caught up in this situation and he took the stance that he did and that so many things have come out … that have cast a bad light on his career.

(Fallout: Clemens will never get his own “RC” logo’d pillbox lid)

More From The Xpress: “If you look at what happened with some of the other players (who used PEDs), they stepped up and said ‘hey, I did it, I knew it was wrong,’ and they asked for forgiveness and have gone on about their business. I think it’s just unfortunate Roger took the position that he did and that so much has come out about it.”

One thing we’ve learned from cases like Clemens, Mike Vick and Martha Stewart is that their lying denials have exacerbated reax to the discovery of their sordid activities - impeding the original particulars from vanishing into particulate.

Maybe not completely (esp. in Vick’s case), but safe to say we wouldn’t still be reveling discussing Clemens’ now-disgraced status in such detail if he’d just owned up - in the face of all the media needling.

If only all three had consulted Marv Albert.

Is it just me or has Patrick’s radio show gone from a dull-edged rehash of ESPN.com’s home page to appointment listening?

Nobody has been harder on the show than SbB, but between increased on-air energy, some new, competent sidekicks spiced in, and the odd newsmaker interview, Patrick may soon start clearing live major markets lower than 1790am on the dial.

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Girl Knows How to Keep Interest Up @ Rays Game

• We’ve got to hand it to this gal, who really knows how to keep her guy’s interest up at a Tampa Bay Rays game.

Rays couple

• The Lakers are apparently willing to launch Lamar Odom to Sacramento so they can acquire Ron Artest.

• This Belarus soccer referee’s not blind - he’s blind drunk!

Tiger Woods is on par to become the first athlete worth … ONE BILLION DOLLARS! (raises pinky to corner of mouth)

• An online Oklahoman article about a Sooners QB’s arrest for cocaine possession turns out to be a Husker-hatched hoax. (Too bad it wasn’t the same story for Matt Jones.)

Read more…