Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each have three Stanley Cups on their résumés, and have achieved seemingly every individual accolade there is throughout their NHL careers all before the age of 30.
Over the weekend they got a ringing endorsement from The Great One, who believes they are locks to join him and many others greats in the Hockey Hall of Fame when it's all said and done.
"Listen, I think that both of them are obviously superstars, both of them are Hall of Famers," Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time points leader with 2,857, said after the Winter Classic Alumni Game. "I don't think there's any debate over that. More importantly, they're winners and they're very unselfish, and they've had a great deal of success. And they've been a real positive for Chicago, not only because of the way they play but because of the fact they've won championships.
"And so you have to have good leadership and you have to have talent. And they bring both of those qualities to the organization, and consequently they've had a great deal of success, and they're fun to watch."
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Kane and Toews were blown away upon hearing those comments.
“He’s the greatest player to ever play the game, Toews told reporters. "We’re all trying to live up to what players like him left for us. You have a tremendous respect for the [veteran] players, not only in the alumni game but in the tradition that the current players are fulfilling as NHL players.
"You don’t want to let anyone blow to much smoke, hype you up too much — got a lot of work you have to do. But you appreciate any compliment from a former player, let alone a great one.”
Said Kane: "Hearing that, that’s pretty special. It's funny, I scored my 700th point the other night, and some of the text messages I got were, ‘You have 2,100 more point to catch Gretzky.’ That kind of speaks volumes about how great of a player he was. So that’s nice of him to say.”