Well, I think we just learned why Wayne Gretzky's coaching tenure wasn't exactly long and about as lucrative as the franchise he sent plummeting into bankruptcy. Can't believe the old "here's a puck, now go score" philosophy didn't pay long term dividends. To all those people wondering why Kobe Bryant is going to RUN away from sport of basketball after retirement: Here's your answer. The best players to play the game were never the most fundamentally sound. They saw the game in a way no one else could. A way that's incapable of being explained to others. Their instincts - that would cause them to make plays no coach in the world would ever suggest - aren't something that can be illustrated on a drawing board. If everyone tried to play professional hockey like Wayne Gretzky the sport would be an abject failure and an aesthetic mess, so maybe we can take his words with a grain of salt.
Not to mention the fact that the NHL is the best it's ever been talent wise. Some of the players coming into the league today are making plays that Wayne Gretzky would never even dream of. They aren't scoring 50 goals in 39 games or putting up 200 points in a single season because defenseman are - gasp - actually playing defense, and goaltenders aren't complete sieves that look like they are straight out of a jazzercise class at 'Curves'. Wayne Gretzky acting like all that has changed since his playing days is an increased dedication to blocking shots is just about as ludicrous as Oscar Robertson saying he knows how to stop Steph Curry. These games have changed. These players are bigger, stronger, and yes - even smarter. That doesn't automatically mean they are less creative or unoriginal, it means they know what it takes to win in TODAY'S NHL. An NHL that would chew Wayne Gretzky up and spit him the fuck out if he tried to play on the penalty kill while avoiding every piece of vulcanized rubber that came his way.