A very young National Hockey League player has just had a huge amount of pressure placed on his shoulders, although it's probably the kind of pressure every young hockey player dreams of having placed on them.
Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Petterson has been arguably the most exciting your player in the National Hockey League this season and his dynamic and intelligent play has been drawing some loft comparisons to other former great players around in the NHL's history. Now comparing a rookie player to a former NHL superstar usually is not the most fair thing to do to a young man but in this case it seems like the comparisons have been well received.
Petterson has not only displayed tremendous skill on the ice but his incredible vision of the game as well as his hockey IQ have drawn comparisons to The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. Now that may sound insane to the average hockey fan, and to be fair it probably is on many levels, but there are some parallels between the two men. On Monday Gretzky himself was asked about those comparisons and his response to the question left many very surprised at his assessment of the situation.
"To see this young man come in and excite the crowd and put on a show every night is nothing but a positive for our game. I have had a chance to see him a few times and he is so fun to watch and plays with so much passion," began Gretzky. "Comparisons are what sports are all about. From my point of view he has a lot of my similarities. His hockey sense and play making abilities are as good as any one right now. He is so smart and knows where to put himself on the ice. The smarts are just so developed already People in Vancouver have to be excited because there is a strong core of younger guys and good things are coming to that city."
It is incredibly high praise from the Great One but it is also likely the kind of praise that Petterson can not possibly be expected to live up to. Perhaps I am wrong and he will develop into the greatest player of all time, but I'll have to see it before I believe it.