Photo: The Pink Puck

The Blackhawks‘ Captain Jonathan Toews and winger Patrick Kane received the ultimate compliment leading into the Winter Classic this weekend.

In a press conference following Saturday’s Alumni Game, Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky talked about the duo:

“Listen, I think that both of them are obviously superstars, both of them are Hall of Famers. I don’t think there’s any debate over that. More importantly, they’re winners and they’re very unselfish, and they’ve had a great deal of success. And they’ve been a real positive for Chicago, not only because of the way they play but because of the fact they’ve won championships.

And so you have to have good leadership and you have to have talent. And they bring both of those qualities to the organization, and consequently they’ve had a great deal of success, and they’re fun to watch.”

Sure, the All-Star duo has earned three Stanley Cup rings, Olympic medals, and a hefty variety of hockey accolades. But, this was different from a trophy. It was words from a living legend.

Toews voiced his appreciation for Gretzky’s comments after Sunday’s Winter Classic practice, noting “tremendous respect” for veteran players and their perspectives.

“He’s the greatest player to ever play the game,” Toews said. “We’re all trying to play to live up to those standards.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s an honor coming from The Great One.”

Kane was a bit taken aback, learning about the compliments from media in the locker room.

“That’s kind of nice,” he said with a laugh. “That’s kind of special.”

He found it to be coincidental, as well.

“It’s funny, I scored my 700th point the other night, and I got all these text messages from people saying ‘only 2,100 more points to catch Gretzky,’” Kane said. “That speaks volumes about how great a player he was. So, that’s nice of him to say.”

Carly grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.


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