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GRETZKY ON EICHEL: 'HE'S FUN TO WATCH'

by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres

It’s not every day that the greatest player in NHL history is live on the airwaves in Buffalo.

Wayne Gretzky, the League’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points in both the regular season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, called into Hockey Hotline with Andrew Peters and Matthew Coller on Thursday.

They embarked on an extended conversation about how he watches the game now, the new 3-on-3 overtime format and Jack Eichel.

Gretzky entered the League in 1979 and although times have certainly changed, he noted some similarities to the spotlight that was put on him at a young age and the attention paid to top rookies like Eichel and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

“I think the difference between myself and McDavid and Eichel [is] when I came in, there were still some question marks about my ability and my size,” Gretzky said. “I wasn’t really labeled a ‘Can’t Miss’ like McDavid and Eichel. I was labeled as half the people thought, ‘OK, he could be a player’ and half the people thought, well, once I get against men, my size would catch up to me.

“They have a different kind of pressure. Nobody’s ever once doubted the fact that they’re going to be great players and go on to be All-Stars and probably Hall of Famers. So there’s a little bit different pressure than I had, but all-in-all, we still had pressure.”

LISTEN: GRETZKY ON HOCKEY HOTLINE

Mike Robitaille also shared some memories of Gretzky, going back to playing junior hockey against him.

LISTEN: ROBY TALKS ABOUT THE GREAT ONE

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Throwback Thursday without a look back at what’s come before.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Gretzky’s most memorable game against the Sabres was likely back on Feb. 24, 1982. On that day at the Aud, Gretzky scored three times to set the single-season record for goals scored, passing Phil Esposito’s mark of 76 set in 1970-71.

The Great One scored 92 goals that season – which is still an NHL record – and racked up a then-career-high 212 points.

“It was a thrill to get 92 goals, but in some ways, I thought I let myself down by not getting 100,” Gretzky told NHL.com in 2008 when asked if he was disappointed that he hadn't hit the century mark. “Maybe I should have pushed myself more.”

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