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This Gretzky Character May Know Something About Coaching

I really liked the Jokinen trade from a Phoenix perspective, and I think that Phoenix is building a team the right way. They brought in an experienced, unheralded guy in Don Maloney to be the general manager, and despite a few missteps (hello, Mike York) he's sticking to the plan and generally doing a good job with the pieces at his disposal.

Gretzky offered up the following quote to Kevin Allen in today's USA Today:

"I don't want Kyle to play every shift against (Ryan) Getzlaf, or (Joe) Thornton or (Patrick) Marleau," said Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky. "This will give us a chance to put him in a different role so he won't have to see the biggest, best centers every shift."

The Jokinen acquisition is really a prime example of why bringing in a veteran can help player development. Take Sam Gagner, for instance. Some fans were calling for Gagner to be placed between Hemsky and Penner on the top line- but here is the rub: the way MacTavish runs his team, Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky generally lineup against the best or second-best opposition. By keeping Gagner with Nilsson and Cogliano on the second line, MacTavish was able to put him in a position to succeed against less talented NHLers.

The fact that Phoenix plans to do the same for Turris will almost undoubtedly help him make the adjustment from NCAA to NHL.