Wayne Gretzky has seen just about everything in hockey — from great and historic, to awkward and embarrassing.
That includes watching teammates accidentally put the puck into their own net, which is what occurred to burgeoning Jets star Patrik Laine on Sunday.
On a rebound in front, Laine shot the puck into his team’s net, the third-period gaffe proving to be the game winner for the Edmonton Oilers. Laine, who has been spectacular so far in his rookie season in Winnipeg, immediately realized the mistake, but it was too late.
In an interview with NHL Network Radio on Monday, The Great One recalled two instances in which teammates scored in their own net — including the infamous Steve Smith incident in Game 7 of the Smythe Division final against the rival Calgary Flames.
“It was tough because Stevie was a young kid at the time and we knew he was a big part of the future of the organization,” said Gretzky. “What was really unfortunate about the entire event was the fact it was such a great series — three games to three, 2-2 early in the third period — and it was just one of those … mistakes.
“He’s had such a great start,” he said of Laine. “And he’s been such a key part of not only the Jets but the fans are excited again in Winnipeg and he’s sort of the new Teemu Selanne. So you hate to see something like that happen, but it happens in hockey.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen to him again.”