The possibility of Gretzky in Anaheim [1996]

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Smirnov2Chistov, Oct 18, 2018.

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  1. Smirnov2Chistov

    Smirnov2Chistov woof woof

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    Not sure if this was ever discussed, but being a Ducks fan , and especially a Paul Kariya fan, I stumbled across a little rumbing through wikipedia articles mentioning that Gretzky had a liking joining Anaheim in '96. Anaheim never pursued, due to Gretzky's high salary at the time.

    Could anyone imagine a line with Selanne-Gretzky-Kariya? Or even so, would his arrival make hockey in Anaheim even more popular than it was?

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Google News Archive Search
     
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  2. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I had never heard that. The summer of 1996 the rumours were Toronto and Vancouver. Both coming close to happening if the things I have read over the years are true. So no, I didn't hear Anaheim ever come into the mix. I doubt that would be somewhere he'd want to go, just a half hour from the team he wanted to leave.

    But just to imagine, that top line would be incredible.
     
  3. KMart27

    KMart27 Registered User

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    Wayne Gretzky playing for a Mickey Mouse organization? Never.

    I also have never read anything like that. It obviously wouldn't be surprising if he would have had some desire to play with Kariya and Selanne. Who wouldn't want to?
     
  4. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    based upon what Gret said--it was always his intention to reunite with Mess in NY--but NY had other plans
     
  5. Vanzig

    Vanzig Registered User

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    Well having PAUL KARIYA and TEEMU SELLANE as Linemates to end your HOF Career would have been more exciting and would have been a lot better for his Stats/Numbers than playing with guys who had Drug/Booze/Injuries/AGE problems like
    (KEVIN STEVENS, NIKLAS SUNDSTROM, BILL BERG etc)
    Yes Graves was on his Line sometimes but LEETCH had like 1 of “THE” Worst seasons ever for a Defenceman with I think was a Minus -36 in the 1997-98 season and RICHTER didn’t play well either!!!

    I wish he would have done what Ray Bourque and other stars did and go to a contender (Detroit, Colorado, Dallas, Philadelphia etc) instead of ROTTING on the NY Rangers who ironically AFTER Gretzky Retired went out and got (BURE, LINDROS, MESSIER, JAGR). Had Neil Smith gotten PAVEL BURE Gretzky even said himself that he would have played another season but I guess being on a disaster team and having NKILAS SUNDSTROM as your Superstar Main (supposed) GOAL SCORER wasn’t very inticing for the Greatest Hockey Player who ever lived!!!
     
  6. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    I remember discussions back then about the Ducks lack of a great #1 centre between Kariya and Selanne really setting them back. Gretzky certainly would have helped that. To bad it never happened.
     
  7. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Well done. :laugh:
     
  8. Terry Yake

    Terry Yake Registered User

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    i've never heard this but wow. just imagine those two actually having an offensive-minded C, let alone gretzky

    i'll always have a soft spot for steve rucchin but he was a physical, defensive-minded C. crazy how productive those two were during their years in anaheim and they did it without a true playmaking C
     
  9. frontsfan2005

    frontsfan2005 Registered User

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    It wouldn't surprise me if he did have some interest in Anaheim in 1996. Gretzky had set down roots in LA and moving to the Ducks after his brief stay in St. Louis would be easy for his family if he decided to stay in Southern California. Centring Kariya and Selanne would have helped his push to 3000 points.
     
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  10. MIAtoBKLYN

    MIAtoBKLYN Registered User

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    I am as big a Gretzky supporter as you'll find, so I apologize if this comes as an attack.

    I get that he apparently wanted to reunite with Mess, but signing with the Rangers was about going from North America's No. 2 market to its No. 1 market (ignoring that pointless stop with the Blues, where he was never going to re-sign, Keenan or not). I'll never believe Vancouver was in the running for that very reason, though I can believe the Toronto rumors because of it. Even then, in the sporting world, being the big fish in New York is a much bigger deal than even in the cooker of Toronto.

    The fact that he got that **** squad to the '97 ECF is one of the more understated accomplishments of his career.

    If he really wanted to ring chase, he would have taken a pay cut and joined Detroit.

    Skating into the Sunset in diagonal stripes and a Donald Duck mask was never going to happen.
     
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  11. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    Gretzky negotiated with St. Louis. After that broke off, he was ready to sign with Vancouver, if not for a midnight phone call. He expressed an interest in Toronto, but Stavro was cheap. Gretzky also talked to San Jose and Phoenix.

    But yeah that '97 playoff run was fun. But the team didn't score when he was off the ice and Richter seemingly kept giving away leads after every go-ahead or tying goal.
     
  12. MIAtoBKLYN

    MIAtoBKLYN Registered User

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    Those are all wonderful stories, but Gretzky going from LA to New York surprised no one. It was the final, unconquered frontier for Wayne.
     
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  13. Anton13

    Anton13 Registered User

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    Hadn’t heard this one before. The top line could’ve been really something else. Although you never know about chemistry. His old pal Kurri was also in Anaheim in 96-97...
     
  14. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    It's not just a story -- Gretzky details the Vancouver affair in his '99 Stories of the Game' book. He personally flew to Vancouver in summer '96 with the intent of signing with the Canucks, and went to bed in his hotel fully expecting to wake up the next morning and sign the contract. Instead, Canuck-management told Gretzky's agent (after Wayne retired for the evening) that Gretzky would have to sign it "now" -- i.e., they couldn't wait 8 hours until breakfast -- or the whole thing was off. So the whole thing was off.

    I do agree with you, though, that it wouldn't have been right for Wayne to end up in Vancouver... or Anaheim. New York, Detroit, or Toronto were more viable options.

    Gretzky's travel-schedule most of his career was brutal. He spent his first 16.5 years as a pro in the West of North America, when there were few teams in the west.
     

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