Wayne Gretzky Optimistic for NHL Season

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Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images(TORONTO) — The NHL is still locked out, but the Great One has spoken.  Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky remains optimistic about the labor situation as the two sides will continue to talk this week.

Gretzky is a former part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes and feels these negotiations are much different than when the league lost an entire season in 2004.

“I think that in 2004 we were changing the whole landscape,” Gretzky said. “Ownership wanted to have some sort of revenue sharing, and once we came to the revenue sharing, the hard part — from my point of view — seems to be out of the way.

“Now it’s a question of working out the number that both sides think is fair.”

Gretzky is hoping the lockout will end just in time for the Winter Classic game, which features the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.

“I believe in my heart, maybe because I’m such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by Jan. 1,” he said Monday.  “The only thing I will say is the commissioner’s office and Donald Fehr and the players’ association are very smart men; they’re both very intelligent. … It’s a matter of sitting down and getting the deal done.”

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