Mark Messier was born to play for the New York Rangers. After his success with the Edmonton Oilers, Messier proved he could handle the pressure that the bright lights of Manhattan bring as evidenced by bringing home the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Now Messier could return to the spotlight with the Rangers as rumors are swirling that the former captain could be in line to become the next head coach of the blue shirts.
Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted that if Messier was interested, he would be a legitimate possibility to coach the Rangers. And it would make perfect sense to hire the man who formerly wore number 11. His relationship with GM Glen Sather is about as good as it gets in this industry and not to mention Messier’s connection with the city and the fan-base. It’s the perfect marriage.
Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Sather had asked Messier to coach the Rangers before. McKenzie also notes via Twitter that the Edmonton Oilers approached the 52-year old last summer when they let Tom Renny go. Messier declined the Edmonton gig and it’s uncertain if he turned down the job because of his ties to New York or he wasn’t ready to jump into the coaching world.
Now the door is open in New York, the city that Messier loves and the city that loves Messier.
Howard’s piece focuses on how this group of returning Rangers are fragile after being “buggy-whipped at times” by former coach John Tortorella. It’s a team of great talent but one that is now doubting themselves in the back of their mind. Hence why bringing Messier into the fold would make the most sense as Howard writes.
What the Rangers need is a leader and what better candidate to bring in than the man who has a leadership award named after him. Granted he doesn’t have the experience or the resume to compare to the likes of Lindy Ruff or Alain Vigneault. But sometimes it doesn’t matter if they have year’s of coaching experience. If a coach can relate to his players and get their buy-in then success just naturally follows. Of course there are plenty of examples to showcase why it doesn’t work with an inexperience coach, just ask Wayne Gretzky.
But at this point, what do the Rangers have to lose? They are already considered one of the greatest under-achieving teams that money put together. Bringing in a Mark Messier would certainly take the attention off the players that would allow them to focus on playing the game. Of course if Messier thought New York was a circus before, wait until he takes the job, should he do so.