Glendale, Ariz. - First things first, there's been a change in this blogosphere.
I will be doing Q&As on Tuesdays now instead of Saturdays, mainly because - just like NBA teams - I am not a fan of back-to-backs. Between the Friday "Web Watch" and Q&As a day later, the only two standing elements of this forum are way too close together. What's more, web traffic on the weekends slows to a crawl and more folks will enjoy the responses during the week anyways.
Now on to the more intriguing happenings: Wayne Gretzky thinks the Kings should tank their season.
I learned this while sharing an elevator with the Great One in a hotel next to the Jobing.com Arena where his Phoenix Coyotes play in Glendale. On my way up to the 10th floor, I lost all focus as Gretzky turned the corner and headed my way. Admittedly, I didn't grow up a hockey fan by any stretch - meaning this wasn't the same sort of experience as my Pete Rose encounter - but Gretzky is big-time no matter what your view on hockey. So as I stared to see if it was, in fact, Gretzky himself, my finger slipped on the elevator button and hit "down" instead of "up."
"Are you going down?" Gretzky asked.
"Well, no," I stammered. "Honestly, I got a little distracted by who I saw coming my way and hit the wrong button."
All in all, the all-time great who is now the head coach of the Coyotes could not have been classier. We jammed quite a little conversation into a seven-story trip (his destination floor) and the added bonus of Gretzky holding the elevator door to finish a few thoughts of his own before he left. He shared a story of the one time he played in Sacramento, a mid-1990s affair in which his Los Angeles Kings played his old Edmonton squad in an NHL effort to attract fans in non-hockey cities.
He had quite the curiosity about the Sacramento Kings, too, asking about their record and whether they had some good young players to build with. I mentioned how they are currently looking at the same No. 10-12 range draft pick they had last season and how it's a period of transition, to which he responded that sometimes you have to go all the way down to get back up again.
* The esteemed Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic helps get you ready for tonight's affair in his blog.
* No matter what style the Kings play, they may be in trouble tonight. Whether they play fast of whether they play slow, the Suns are - according to big man Amare Stoudemire - very dangerous right now. - Sam Amick