Wayne Gretzky, the most prolific scorer in NHL history, will coach the Phoenix Coyotes this season in the hopes of reviving a perennially disappointing team in a league emerging from a lockout.

"I heard people say, 'Why would he want to do this?' My answer is 'Why not?' It is what I love. It's what I know," Gretzky said at a news conference yesterday.

Co-owner Steve Ellman said Gretzky's stake in the team remains the same but his five-year contract with the ownership group is now an open-ended agreement.

The move could help revive a sport that missed a season with a lockout, Ellman said.

"It's huge. Fans around the world will tune in to watch Gretzky coach," he said.

A coaching job for Gretzky, the team's managing partner and hockey operations director, has long been speculated. . . .

Buffalo right wing Mike Grier accepted a one-year qualifying offer to earn nearly $1.4 million this season. . . .

Carolina agreed to terms on a one-year contract with center Matt Cullen. . . .

Chris Osgood agreed to terms on a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Red Wings. The deal sends the goaltender back to the team he helped win the 1998 Stanley Cup.

Osgood will compete with Manny Legace for Detroit's top spot in the nets. . . .

Ray Whitney signed a two-year contract with Carolina, giving the team a two-time all-star who has topped 60 points in five of his last seven seasons. . . .

The Thrashers signed free agent forwards Eric Boulton, Ramzi Abid and Scott Barney. . . .

Rick Nash, who tied for the league lead in goals with 41 in 2003-04, re-signed with Columbus. . . .

The Mighty Ducks agreed to terms with free agent Jason Marshall on a one-year contract.

-- From News Services

Wayne Gretzky is the new coach of Phoenix; he previously was the team's managing partner.