LOS ANGELES -- John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets was supposed to be the head coach of the Metropolitan Division All-Stars here this weekend. He opted out, however, to care for his son’s — an Army Ranger on deployment — ailing dog.
So the Metro team needed a replacement, and ... well, who better than one of the greatest to ever play the game. Wayne Gretzky will fill in for Tortorella behind the bench for the All-Star Game, coaching the Metropolitan Division.
The NHL made the announcement Saturday afternoon prior to the All-Star Skills Competition at Staples Center.
Gretzky, of course, is a bit infamous as a hockey head coach. He served behind the bench for the Phoenix Coyotes — a team he at the time co-owned -- from 2004 until 2009, and in those four seasons he compiled a 141-161-24 record. The Coyotes never made a playoff appearance in those years.