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Gretzky, Messier and What Happens with that Third Line?

So, after a search of five houses in Ontario and Alberta, the cops have made a couple of arrests related to the theft of $500,000 of collectable items belonging to former Edmonton Oiler Wayne Gretzky from his dad’s house in Brantford last August.

First, who the hell goes into Walter Gretzky’s house and steals his kid’s stuff? Second, did the geniuses responsible for doing so actually think they’d be able to get away with selling $500,000 worth of the Great One’s gear — game-used sticks, hockey gloves, pants, jerseys and even a Player-of-the-Year award – without getting snagged? While there’s plenty of Gretzky stuff out there, any honest, legitimate collector would have questions, no?

Thankfully, it appears the police got at least some of the stolen memorabilia back in the searches of those five houses. “I would like to sincerely thank every member of the team; the professionalism, dedication and support they have shown has been greatly appreciated,” Glen Gretzky, Wayne’s brother, said on the family’s behalf. You can read the entire story here.

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Gretzky was in the news last week when his 1979 O-pee-Chee rookie card sold at auction for just under $1.3 million. I’ve got a Gretzky rookie card, one I sent over to a card dealer last week for a look, that’s worth a few thousand bucks, but it’s nowhere near the grade of the auction card – GEM-MINT 10. Still, no hockey stuff commands more money than Gretzky memorabilia – just don’t steal it from Walter Gretzky’s house.

Throw the book at these bums.

THE MOOSE MESS

On the heels of the Gretzky bust, former Oilers’ captain Mark Messier made headlines today after losing a $500,000 investment that he made with a Nisku-based cannabis company, Destiny Bioscience, according to a story by TSN’s Rick Westhead.

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Messier is now filing a lawsuit against the CEO of the company, which was placed in receivership with $42 million of debt last May. Messier claims he was granted a personal guarantee by CEO Ed Moroz he would not lose money after buying 400,000 shares at $1.25 each.

“Destiny was not a sure thing. Quite the opposite. It was a worthless company propped up by nothing more than Moroz’s grandiose promises,” Messier states in the lawsuit. Messier claims his endorsement gave the company instant credibility and helped it raise $30 million in investments. None of the claims have been proven. For full context, the story is here.

ABOUT THAT THIRD LINE . . .

Bryn Griffiths and I spent 45 minutes chatting with Oilers’ radio analyst and host of Oilers Now Bob Stauffer on Monday for our OUTSIDERS 2020 podcast. That conversation is here.

We covered plenty of ground about improvements to the roster Ken Holland made this off-season, what media access might look like moving forward and, more importantly, how the acquisitions Holland made will fit together out on the ice. How much and with whom will Tyson Barrie play? Who’ll play the wings with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? Stauffer projected the forwards as follows on Twitter:

I imagine we’ll see many variations of the above after the puck finally drops on the NHL season. That top six is obviously the most important, but it’s that third line I’ll be paying a fair amount of attention to because I think it’s a good bet — if coach Dave Tippett decides to play these guys together as a threesome.

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Tyler Ennis, Kyle Turris and Jesse Puljujarvi all come into this season with something to prove for different reasons. Ennis is coming back from a broken leg. That injury blew his hopes a getting a multi-year UFA deal, but he’s got a one-year, $1-million ticket with a chance to earn another contract. Turris, 31, has a two-year deal after a couple of tough years in Nashville. He’s looking to put that behind him, and I think he’s a perfect fit as a third-line centre at this point in his career.

As for Puljujarvi, we know his story. Starting on the third line, especially with two linemates who have a clue offensively, will give him a chance to establish himself, which has been the issue with him until now. He’s not buried with pluggers. If Puljujarvi shows something, then maybe he moves up. First things first.

Previously by Robin Brownlee