Over the hill? Hardly.
"My goodness, when you're in the top 10 in scoring I wouldn't call that over the hill," Calgary Coach Pierre Page said after watching Wayne Gretzky get two assists in the Flames' 4-2 victory at St. Louis on Thursday night.
"He's still got the fire, and he's still smart and he's still very dangerous. He's going from 15 minutes to 30 minutes right now; that's probably the biggest adjustment for him."
The hoopla of being traded from the Kings has died down for Gretzky, who actually began the game 11th in NHL points. He didn't have a shot in his home debut Tuesday and had only one shot Thursday, but he got the second assist on Al MacInnis' power-play goal in the first period, set up linemate and pal Brett Hull--who missed a breakaway in the second period--and was dangerous on several other occasions.
It was his answer to the headline "Gretzky Over the Hill?" in this week's Sports Illustrated.
Still, he was far from happy about the game.
"It's always nice," Gretzky said of clicking with Hull, "but we didn't win."
Grant Fuhr, the only goalie in the NHL to start every game, left early in No. 65. He gave up three goals on 22 shots and left at 7:31 in favor of Jon Casey, who made his first appearance of the season.
Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 1--Mario Lemieux scored 18 seconds into the game, the first of three Penguin goals from only five shots in less than five minutes of their victory in Pittsburgh, where they have won eight games in a row.
Ottawa has lost six games in a row and is winless in Pittsburgh (0-9-1) since joining the NHL in 1992. The Penguins are 16-1-1 against Ottawa, 5-0 this season.
Tampa Bay 5, N.Y. Rangers 2--Brian Bellows scored his 19th and 20th goals at Tampa and Shawn Burr scored a controversial tiebreaking goal for the Lightning, which is 9-1-1 in its last 11 games.
The Rangers continued to stumble, dropping to 1-3-2 in their last six games and falling from first place in the East.
Mark Messier scored his team-leading 42nd goal for New York.
Elik's ninth goal and first game-winner negated a New York surge that saw the Islanders score twice in a two-minute span of the third period to tie the score, 3-3.
Winnipeg 5, Florida 3--Darren Turcotte's goal broke a tie and led the Jets to a victory at home.