With 30 points in his first 28 games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (a.k.a. The Nuge) has taken the NHL by storm and is already drawing comparisons to the one that shall not be named. It’s plain old bad karma to compare anyone to the Great One, but in this unique case, if the skate fits…
The resemblances between The Nuge and Gretz are uncanny: Same “too skinny” body type; the same crouched-over skating style; the same ability to dart in and out of trouble and tight spots and the same ridiculous tape-to-tape passes no one else can see.
Although he’s only 18, with a down-to-earth personality and a relentless work ethic, so far, The Nuge seems to have his priorities in order. He likes to do his talking on the ice, not off of it. The Gretzky-like star could not come soon enough for Edmonton’s beaten-down fan base that has watched their team decline for 20 years straight.
Let’s just hope they can keep him away from B-List Hollywood actresses down the road and we should be fine.
MG: I love that Janet Jones is the Yoko Ono of hockey for Oilers fans.
Photos: top left, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by Al Charest/Calgary Sun; right, Gretzky circa 1980s at the Montreal Forum by Denis Brodeur, NHLI via Getty Images. and just above, Gretzky and Janet Jones in 1988 on their wedding day and less than a month before being traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles. AP photo.