The National Hockey League the luxury of boasting quite a few superstar level talents in this current era of the league and for that reason there is a significant deal of parody when discussing a topic like who the best player in the league is. Although he made no such proclamation the NHL's greatest legend, "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky, was recently asked a question that was similar enough that it raised some eyebrows when Gretzky offered his response.
The Great One was asked which two players in the NHL's current era he would most like to have as linemates, and although you might expect to hear a name like that of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews or that of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, neither man made the final cut for The Great One's dream team. Instead Gretzky picked a man chasing down one of his records in Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and added speedy Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid to completethe trio.
"For me, probably Connor because of his speed, he would open up the ice, and Ovechkin because if we get him the puck you know he's going to hit the net or at least have a chance to score, so, those two guys would be fun to play with," Gretzky, a Hockey Hall of Fame center, said Gretzky during a video call this week as per NHL.com.
To be fair to some of the other players above Gretzky did take the type to acknowledge both Crosby and Matthews as well as McDavid's teammate Leon Draisaitl and Matthews' teammate Mitch Marner, effectively giving them all honorable mentions. Gretzky even added that the question was a particularly difficult one due to the all the top level talent in the NHL today.
"There's so many good players, that's a tough question," Gretzky said.
It was interesting to see Gretzky pick Ovechkin given that Ovechkin is currently chasing down Gretzky's goal scoring title, and it was made all the more interesting when Gretzky revealed his reasons for picking Ovechkin. Given the Russian's love of firing pucks at the net Gretzky figures it would be a great way to further boost his assist totals.
"I admire the fact that every time he gets a chance, he usually hits the net," Gretzky said. "So if I played with him, I think I'd have more assists. It's as simple as that."