May 11, 2013, 5:59 PM EDT
Whether the Toronto Maple Leafs manage to come back in their first-round series against the Boston Bruins or not, they’ve succeeded in at least one area: impressing Wayne Gretzky.
The hockey legend voiced his approval of the team to ESPN after seeing them fight off elimination with a tight 2-1 win in Game 5 on Friday.
“They’re up against a really good opponent, a team that’s just two years removed from winning the Cup, but any time you can win a Game 5 in that situation against a team of that caliber, obviously you’ve got character and it builds even more character,” Gretzky said. “They’re legit. They’re playing on high emotion right now.”
To Gretzky, that high emotion comes from Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle, whose resume demands respect.
“It’s about believing in your system. The system starts with the head coach,” Gretzky said. “He’s got tremendous credibility after winning a Stanley Cup himself [2007 in Anaheim]. It’s not a question of players saying, ‘Are we sure he knows what he’s doing?’ Because they’re absolutely positive he knows what he’s doing. The credibility starts right there with the coach.”
- It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT 13
- Gomez goes full circle by rejoining Devils on tryout basis 8
- Under Pressure: Jimmy Howard 6
- Looking to make the leap: Anthony Mantha 17
- It’s Detroit Red Wings day on PHT 24
- Under Pressure: Nathan Horton 8
- Will Johansen be the latest Overhardt holdout? 25
- It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day on PHT 17
- Shanahan tasked with ending years of collapses 9
- Looking to make the leap: Peter Holland 1
- NHL-to-Vegas talks gaining steam (68)
- Report: Bruins need to make a trade (61)
- Sounds like San Jose handled stripping Thornton’s captaincy really well (43)
- Fanspeak: Mats Sundin voted greatest Maple Leaf in franchise history (43)
- Fanspeak: Lemieux (stunner!) voted greatest Penguin in franchise history (41)