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All-Star

Wayne Gretzky to coach Metropolitan All-Stars

Will replace John Tortorella on team with Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin

NHL.com @NHL

Wayne Gretzky was named as the replacement coach for the Metropolitan Division at the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).

Gretzky will take over for Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who will miss the game because of personal reasons.

"The League came to me last night and said, 'Would you like to coach?' and I said. 'Sure,'" Gretzky told NBCSN. "Playing in the All-Star Game is a privilege and a pleasure, and the chance to be around it and part of it tomorrow ... I'm excited and I'm really looking forward to it."

Gretzky, who was named as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian on Friday, will coach a team that includes Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who also made the NHL100 list.

"I'll talk to them; whoever they want to play with ...," Gretzky said of possibly playing them together. "They are two of the greatest players to ever play the game, so whatever they are happy with or comfortable with, that is what we'll do."

Gretzky coached the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-09. He played in 18 NHL All-Star Games, and his 13 goals and 25 points are the most in history. He is NHL leader in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857).

Tortorella was named coach on Jan. 10, when the Blue Jackets were in first place in the division.

The other coaches are Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic), Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild (Central) and Peter DeBoer of the San Jose Sharks (Pacific).

The winning division at the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition, which takes place on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports) will get to choose its opponent and which semifinal game they want to play (first or second) on Sunday.

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