LOS ANGELES – Wayne Gretzky will coach the Metropolitan Division team in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday. He is replacing Columbus' John Tortorella, who is skipping the weekend festivities because one of his dogs is ailing.
The NHL announced the move Saturday before Gretzky coached a celebrity hockey game at Staples Center.
Tortorella's decision comes late in the week, forcing the NHL to scramble for a replacement to coach one of the four divisional teams in the 3-on-3 tournament format.
The league found a decent replacement in Gretzky, the leading scorer in NHL history and the former coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. He also played eight seasons for the host Los Angeles Kings.
Montreal's Michel Therrien, Minnesota's Bruce Boudreau and San Jose's Peter DeBoer are the other three coaches.