The average hockey fan would be thrilled for a personal invite to dinner from Wayne Gretzky.
Seems that goes for NHL head coaches, too.
This week, Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau got the call to break bread with No. 99 — Boudreau was in Vancouver playing the Canucks, Gretzky for a speaking engagement — and the Ducks bench boss was admittedly awestruck by the entire affair.
“Coolest moment of my life,” Boudreau told the Edmonton Journal. “I was blown away. I phoned my wife at two in the morning. I said, ‘You’ll never guess who I was with.’ I was really excited.”
Part of the reason Gretzky sought out Boudreau was because of his playing career. From 1972-75, Boudreau played junior hockey with the OHA’s Toronto Marlboros, a team Gretzky watched growing up.
“I was really shocked how knowledgeable Wayne was,” Boudreau explained. “He knew so much about me. I thought I knew a lot about him and I didn’t think he knew anything about me.
“But he knew an awful lot from 30 years ago and that’s another reason why he’s so great. He loves hockey.”
Of note, that 1974-75 Marlboros team was definitely one worth watching. In addition to churning out some quality NHLers like John Tonelli and Mark Napier, the team also developed a legion of NHL head coaches: Boudreau, Ron Wilson, John Anderson and Mike Kitchen.
As for dinner — Boudreau didn’t say what he and Gretzky ate, but I think it’s safe to assume ice cream factored heavily into the dessert selection.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.