How deep are we, Mr. Gretzky?
"The reality is, I'm not involved, I wasn't involved and I'm not going to be involved."
February 7, 2006
Gretzky's not going to Turin. Imagine the sideshow if he did? Here's the Toronto Star's Damien Cox in his baby blog:
The clear question that follows all of this, at least for Canadians, is should Gretzky go to Turin? You can bet European journalists are not going to be shy about raising the gambling story, just as they're going to be very, very interested in going over the entire Steve Moore incident again with Canadian Olympic winger Todd Bertuzzi.Regardless, this whole business is going to affect Team Canada's hockey team. Questions are going to be asked of the team's players and coaches for the duration of the tournament (it's already started), and, if Canada slips and — gasp — doesn't win gold, you better believe the postscripts will all point to this deal.
So, if Gretzky steps down from Team Canada, the question then becomes 'where does it end?' Does he leave the Coyotes? Sell his interest in the team? Leave hockey altogether?
Sound crazy? Well, we're headed into crazy territory. As Cox says, it's getting messier.
Sportsnet is reporting Janet Gretzky will be making a statement later today, so stay tuned.
UPDATE And here, too, is the Vancouver Sun's Cam Cole, a guy who cut his teeth as a sportswriter covering Gretzky and all those Oiler dynasties in the '80s.
It's got to be killing the NHL. It's got to be killing Team Canada, whose arrival in Turin on Tuesday morning was going to be a triumphant one for the defending gold medallists. But now, the head of the delegation is going to be here, holding the bag for his wife and his buddy, Tocchet. There is no hiding, once Gretzky is on the ground in Italy. He's not involved, but his good name surely is.
Gambling, money laundering and conspiracy. Maybe racketeering, before it's all over. That's for Tocchet.
Even if none of it ends up touching The Great One, it will have come closer than we would ever have believed.