Gretzky: “Let’s all try and stay positive”

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Wayne Gretzky’s prediction for the return of NHL hockey almost sounds like an injury report. He thinks a deal will be reached in 4-6 weeks – allowing things to kick off in early 2013 – as he told Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Tuesday (transcribed by Jeff Simmons).

“We want to see hockey. It’s frustrating,” Gretzky said. “My gut still tells me that over the next six weeks I think that they will get a deal done, and I think there’s too many people that want to play, and I still see hockey being played come January for a 40- or 50-game schedule. Let’s all try and stay positive.”

Gretzky also addressed how the lockout might hurt the defending champions – and his former team – in Los Angeles.

“The excitement level here is extremely high,” Gretzky said. “The other side is this area, like San Jose, Phoenix, Dallas, are a little bit different than Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, where every day hockey is on the front pages. So here we’re always fighting to get that equality. So they can try to be marketable as USC Trojans or UCLA Bruins or L.A. Lakers or Clippers. It’s always a concern. People are human and get disappointed and upset. You obviously come to a point where you will lose some fans.”

Let’s hope Gretzky’s overall positivity is justified.