Hull to paper: Players intimidated by Gretzky

Updated: October 3, 2005, 7:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Apparently, playing for The Great One has its pressures.

Coyotes winger and outspoken player Brett Hull told The Arizona Republic on Sunday that players are intimidated by the fact that Wayne Gretzky is their coach.

Brett Hull
Hull

"I think everyone has underestimated how intimidated players are reacting to Wayne being there [behind the bench]," Hull told the newspaper. "Their expectations of themselves have risen, and I think they're having trouble grasping that within themselves. They're nervous and they're playing tight. I think that's going to take some time to wear off."

Gretzky, who is also part-owner of the team, was named coach this offseason.

Hull told The Republic that he's trying to help the players relax.

"I try to tell them before every game: 'You're not here by accident. You're here because [GM] Mike Barnett and Wayne Gretzky and the coaching staff and [executive VP] Cliff Fletcher think you have the ability and have the skill and have the mental fortitude to play at this level," Hull said. "So don't be intimidated."

The Coyotes went 2-5-1 in the preseason.