There is only one “The Great One” and when he speaks, everyone listens. With all the fanfare surrounding this weekend’s NHL Winter Classic there will be many memories and sound bites made. Perhaps, the most memorable moment for the Chicago Blackhawks superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane may be the praise Gretzky had for them.
Kane and Toews have won just about every team and individual award between the two of them and just hitting their prime. It’s amazing how much the two have accomplished at only 28 years old but Gretzky feels they’ve already earned hockey’s greatest individual honor when asked about them this weekend in St. Louis.
“Both of them are obviously superstars. Both of them are Hall of Famers. I don’t think there’s any real debate over that,” Gretzky said.
Jonathan Toews handled the comments like he died his business on the ice. Level-headed and well thought out. “He’s the greatest player to ever play the game. We’re all trying to live up to what players like him left for us,” he said after the Blackhawks practice on Sunday. “You have a tremendous respect for the [veteran] players, not only in the alumni game but in the tradition that the current players are fulfilling as NHL players.”
Kane who had not heard what Gretzky said handled it in his normal manner. Tongue in cheek joking about his recent 700 point milestone. “It’s funny, I scored my 700th point the other night, and I got all these text messages from people saying ‘only 2,100 more points to catch Gretzky,’” he said. “That speaks volumes about how great a player he was. So that’s nice of him to say.”
Wayne Gretzky is without a doubt the greatest hockey player of all time and his praise speaks volumes about the kind of players Kane and Toews are. They’ve had great success at a young age, like Gretzky, and hopefully they can stay at that level until at least 38 years old like him. Even with the endorsement of Gretzky it’s unlikely that the pair will plan on going in cruise control on their way to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.