Gretz thinks out loud ...

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Back in the city where he enjoyed so much success as a player with the Edmonton Oilers, Wayne Gretzky was thinking out loud yesterday about enjoying more of the same in his second season behind the bench as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

If only it was as easy as slipping a puck over to Jari Kurri at the top of the circles or heading to open ice as opponents scrambled to get a handle on Mark Messier or Paul Coffey.

"Any professional athlete or coach will tell you there's nothing like experience," Gretzky said, when asked about his sophomore season swinging open the gate. "Experience is something you can't replace. Last year was, obviously, a learning experience for me. I'd never been a coach before, although many people told me I coached teams I was on."

The Coyotes were overmatched in too many positions on far too many nights last season.

That's something Gretzky and GM Mike Barnett addressed this off-season via free agency.

"I was very proud of the way my players played last year," Gretzky said. "I was proud of the fact they worked hard each and every day.

"Winning championships doesn't happen overnight. It's not a sprint. It takes time.

"We're pleased with how our young kids progressed and how they played. To me, those things are important."


Videos

Photos