In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that if the Rangers were to hire Mark Messier to be their head coach there would be an immediate level of respect from the players.
Brooks writes that the challenge will be keeping that respect while doing the job.
Adam Rotter: The players just need to have their eyes open as they walk around MSG or the Training Center to see what kind of impact Mark Messier has had with this team and in this city. He has won in NY and that appeals to this group which thinks it’s in a position to do the same. That being said, that respect could go out the window quickly in training camp if Messier doesn’t have an understanding of what to do. I still think Messier’s best role is as a consultant. Someone who does a few different things with the players but has a presence with the team and is in 100% agreement with the coaching staff.
Pierre McGuire was a guest on Mike Francesa today and said that Alain Vigneault and Lindy Ruff are both outstanding coaches and candidates for the Rangers.
McGuire said he is very familiar with both coaches bodies of work and that he worked with Vigneault when both were assistants in Florida and he coached against Lindy Ruff when Ruff was an assistant with the Panthers.
He added that he would love to be inside the room when Mark Messier gets interviewed because he wants to see what Messier would say when asked about his approach to coaching.
Francesa asked if he would be concerned with having a superstar as a coach and McGuire said that it wouldn’t matter as long as Messier was surrounded by veteran coaches who have a good grasp on Special Teams, “special teams are such a critical part of the NHL today and it’s far more structured than when Mark played.”
On Hockey Central at noon, Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean discussed Mark Messier and the Rangers head coaching position.
Kypreos said that it’s a tough situation for Glen Sather because not only will he have to tell Mark Messier “no” when it comes to him getting the job, but that Messier could then leave his position in the Rangers front office.
He added that he think Messier would leave the organization if he doesn’t get the head coaching job and that the next coach of the Rangers may not be comfortable having a guy like Messier, who wanted the job, watching from above every night.
MacLean said that he doesn’t see any situation besides the Rangers where Messier would get a shot at being a head coach.
At Sportsnet, Neil Smith, the man who brought Mark Messier to NY, was asked about the Rangers coaching situation and said that it’s up to Glen Sather to make a decision that he believes will get the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final.
He said that the key to this decision will be for Mark Messier, as part of the Rangers organization, to be supportive of whatever decision Glen Sather makes and not pout if he doesn’t get the job.
Smith said that Messier will need to be especially supportive if the new coach gets off to a slow start.
In the NY Post, Brett Cyrgalis spoke with former Ranger Eddie Olczyk about the idea of having your first coaching experience come in the NHL which he did with the Penguins in the mid-2000s.
Olczyk says that if Messier is to get the Rangers head coaching job, he will need experienced assistant/associate coaches.
In 2003-04, Olczyk had Joe Mullen, Lorne Molleken and Randy Hillier as assistant coaches.
Molleken coached parts of two seasons with the Blackhawks in the late 90s but was a head coach in Saskatoon of the WHL and in the AHL in the 90s.
Mullen and Hillier were assistants with the Penguins prior to joining Olczyk.
A main difference between Olczyk’s experience and what would be Messier’s is that the Penguins were in desperate need of a rebuild and one of the worst teams in the league. Olczyk says that he thinks the Rangers are one or two pieces away from joining the elite ranks of the NHL.
Monday, on Team 1200 in Ottawa, Pierre McGuire said that Mark Messier has been thinking about coaching for some time and that the two of them had conversations about coaching a few years ago.
McGuire notes that there is some precedent for a team bringing in a former player with no experience and points to Montreal doing so with Mario Tremblay in the 90s.
Tremblay coached two years in Montreal, before being replaced by Alain Vigneault, and was a main reason why Patrick Roy asked to be traded.
McGuire, who was an assistant coach and head coach for part of a season in the early/mid 90s, said that coaching isn’t an easy thing and not something that you do like a regular 9-5 job.
Elliotte Friedman at CBC spoke with a source that said being a head coach “now” is about delivering a message no one delivers a message better than Messier. The source did say that Messier would need experience around him but “that can be done.”
THIS SECTION is all about Mark Messier’s interest in becoming head coach of the Rangers.
In The Hockey News, Ken Campbell writes that it would be quite a big disaster for the Rangers if they hired Mark Messier or Wayne Gretzky to be their head coach.
Campbell writes that the lack of experience both men have would lead to a bad situation, “coaching is a craft that is learned over years of hard work and experimentation. You spend years learning which buttons to push and you pick up intricacies of the game that none but the most trained eye can see. You get a feel for your players and your bench and you learn what it takes to gain an advantage over the opposition during the frenetic pace of a game.”
Campbell says that the only way hiring Messier or Gretzky would work is if they were figurehead coaches and the Rangers paid an exorbitant amount for an associate coach to do the actual coaching.
Former Rangers assistant GM Don Maloney told Craig Custance at ESPN Insider that coaching is a very hard job and there is a lot more to it than just changing lines. On Messier specifically, Maloney said “look at Mark, his leadership and just his strength of his personality. You could get good people around him to do the technical work. I know he has very firm ideas about how the game is played and how you win. There’s nobody better at how you win. That would probably give him a leg up on everybody.”
Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark told Custance that Messier often talks about the old Oiler teams he played on and how they played the game.
Former teammate Bobby Holik told Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants that great players do things on the ice without knowing how they do it and that it’s hard to translate those kinds of things to players who aren’t as gifted.
On Hockey Night Live over the weekend, Dave Maloney was asked about the idea of Mark Messier becoming coach of the Rangers and talked about the patience that coaches need to have and how sometimes when star players become coaches, they become frustrated that things aren’t moving as quickly as they should.
Mike Johnson of TSN played for Wayne Gretzky when he was in Phoenix and Johnson told Darren Dreger that when they were in meetings the players would just stare at Wayne Gretzky in disbelief because Wayne Gretzky was standing there and talking with them. Dreger says that when the awe of playing for a great player wears off and you realize that he is your coach, there needs to be something else there.
7:17AM: 6/4/13: In the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch writes not to dismiss the idea of Messier becoming coach of the Rangers. He says that if Messier shows that he really wants the job and will commit to the work, he could get the job.
Garrioch writes that Glen Sather is considering Messier but that he would need a strong associate head coach with a lot of experience to run the technical aspects.
7:32PM: This afternoon on TSN Radio, Darren Dreger said “When I first approached those close to Messier there was resistance because John Tortorella had just been removed and they wanted to be respectful of Torts and wait a little bit of time before they threw Mark’s name into the mix. Only a wee bit of time, but he is in the mix. Whether he is the right man for the job, that is up for the NY Rangers management to determine, but Messier is more believable than Gretzky. I don’t think either one will get the job.”
11:34AM: Over the weekend, Elliotte Friedman reported on HNIC that Mark Messier was offered the head coaching position of the Edmonton Oilers last year and turned it down due to family reasons.
Friedman and Glenn Healy both said that Messier is seriously considering making a push for the Rangers vacant head coaching position.
On Hockey Central at Noon, Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean spoke about the Rangers coaching vacancy.
Kypreos said, “If they weren’t interested we would have heard by now. When there was no follow up to Wayne Gretzky saying no, that was the day it became Glen Sather’s biggest headache, nightmare. You can tell Dallas Eakins no…… but to tell Messier or Gretzky no is another story.”
Doug MacLean, a former coach and GM, said that this is turning into a big headache for Sather and that he isn’t sure Sather wants either one of them to be coach.
Kypreos, Messier’s former teammate and 1994 Stanley Cup champ, said that he always thought Messier would be a good coach and the two discussed how much of an impact Messier may have had in the firing of John Tortorella.
Doug MacLean wondered, but wasn’t sure, if Messier had grown disenchanted enough with what was going on in the locker room to tell Sather that he would take over as coach.
They also both thought Messier would eventually go down the GM route for the Rangers and if that was still the plan, why would Messier throw his hat into the coaching race?
Kypreos said that nothing with the Rangers should be decided until their is an overall organizational plan for the next 5-7 years.
MacLean went on to say that he would hire Wayne Gretzky as head coach, Mark Messier as associate coach, Brian Leetch as an assistant and Mike Richter as goalie coach as a way to make everyone happy.