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Report: If Rangers hire Messier, Leetch would join coaching staff

Jun 13, 2013, 1:58 PM EST

LeetchMess

If the Rangers decide to reach back into their history and hire Mark Messier as head coach, his staff will also harken back to the golden years.

According to a source of the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, legendary Blueshirts defenseman Brian Leetch is set to join the coaching staff should Messier get the gig.

Leetch, 45, teamed with Messier to win the last Stanley Cup in Rangers history, in 1994. The American blueliner captured the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP that year and had his No. 2 raised to the MSG rafters in 2008.

Here’s more on the coaching situation, from Brooks:

Sources from the Boston area where Brian Leetch makes his home told The Post the Hall of Fame defenseman would likely join the Rangers’ coaching staff as an assistant if Messier is hired.

The Blueshirts would need to hire a technocrat with meaningful NHL coaching experience to complement Messier and Leetch should Sather opt to go in that direction, one that would seem a far riskier one than hiring [former Canucks head coach Alain] Vigneault.

The major issue with the hires is coaching experience.

Messier doesn’t have much — he was behind the bench for Team Canada’s entries in the 2010 Spengler and Deutschland Cup — and Leetch has even less.

He’s done some TV work with MSG and, even though Brooks championed Leetch as the “perfect guy” to coach the Rangers’ PP in 2012, his only post-retirement coaching duties have been with his kids’ teams.

That said, he did express an interest in getting back into the NHL (from a 2010 interview with the New York Times):

LEETCH: At some point, I would like to get back involved in hockey. I would be interested in just about every aspect within an organization — coaching, management, player development — if the situation was right.

By that I mean, if I felt like I was working again within a team atmosphere, where our goals were the same and our beliefs in how to achieve them were similar.

It’s believed Vigneault is the front-runner for the Rangers’ job, after he reportedly “impressed” Rangers GM Glen Sather during his interview.

  1. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 13, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    When has an ex: player done well as a head coach in the NHL without prior coaching experience? Seriously! I can’t think of any. Gretzky, Talbot, Geoffrion, Tremblay….. Many ex players have done well as a head coach by only after going to school.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      In the last 40 years, only 2 Hall of Fame players have coached teams to Stanley Cup championships: Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson. Both men worked multiple seasons at other levels before becoming NHL head coaches. Perhaps not coincidentally, both men had been coached as players by Scotty Bowman. Not saying Mark Messier couldn’t do this, just saying it would be very unusual.

  2. jaybyrd99 - Jun 13, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    This is a joke right ???

    • barkar942 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      THIS JUST IN-Jason Kidd signs with the Nets……..sorry- with the Rangers to be their new head coach.
      Another no experience signing.
      Will you please interview Mike Haviland already, Sather? Let Mess and Leetch assist him and learn!

  3. biffnasty - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    have graves as another assistant coach and the rangers got themselves a stanley cup bound coaching staff

  4. clavette - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    do you really think vigneault is the guy to coach this team? id rather take a shot in the dark with messier and leetch over a guy whos teams have been paper champions and been embarrassed year after year in the playoffs

    i mean unless you want a cry baby coach to his ways to his players. if thats the case you might as well trade for the sedin sisters while your at it

  5. rpiotr01 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Ugh. Please please don’t make this mistake. The 1994 Rangers had their time in the sun, their numbers are retired and that’s how we’ll remember them. That time is over unless they really want to do it the right way. Get out of the NY spotlight, spend some years coaching, then come back to it if the spot is ever open. This is just nepotism.

  6. clavette - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    *to coach his ways

  7. oquintero99 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Might as well bring Mike Richter as the goalie coach while you are it…

  8. canucks30 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    1994 was almost 20 years ago. Instead of reliving the glory years how about bringing in someone innovative and new with a fresh perspective instead?

    • barkar942 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Like Mike Haviland!

  9. Habib Marwan - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Why on earth hasent Lindy Ruff been brought in for an interview?? this is just plain ignorance

    • barkar942 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      No, Lindy Ruff should move on to take over Team Canada.
      Ignorance is not interviewing Mike Haviland who has won at every level he has coached.

      • nyrnashty - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        Mike Haviland? Not in NYC!

    • nyrnashty - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Because he sucks. He’s been a coach forever and hasn’t won anything!

  10. steeeve718 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Please don’t report anything written by Larry Brooks. The dude is a clown and it’s well known that most of his rumors and speculation are completely fabricated. The Post is a tabloid and Brooksie is their best gossip writer.

  11. nyrnashty - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Brooks is retarded. Vigneault better get the job. Vigneault must feel pretty confident right now knowing that Leetch, Messier and Ruff are his top competitors!

  12. nyrnashty - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Rangers should interview Joe Torre while they’re at it!

  13. banger60 - Jun 14, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    How about Don Cherry, the team would suck but the interviews, priceless!

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