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Messier ‘very disappointed,’ future with Rangers unclear

Jun 20, 2013, 9:51 AM EDT

Mark Messier AP

Retired Hall of Fame forward Mark Messier has been serving as Rangers GM Glen Sather’s special assistant for years, but when head coach John Tortorella was fired, Messier was hoping to take his place.

That didn’t happen and the job will instead go to former Vancouver Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault. The question now is what will Messier’s next step be.

“I don’t really know what Mark is going to do,” Sather told the New York Post. “He was very disappointed when I called to tell him that we were going to hire Alain.

“He said he wanted to take a few days and would call me, but we haven’t spoken since.”

Vigneault reportedly inked a five-year, $10 million deal with the Rangers and is expected to be officially introduced on Friday.

It’s not surprising that the Rangers ultimately went with Vigneault instead of Messier. As great of a player as he was and as much as he’s done for the franchise, Messier doesn’t have much in the way of coaching experience. That’s critical because, as we’ve seen before, success on the ice doesn’t always translate to success behind the bench.

Perhaps he’ll put himself in a position where he starts to get more coaching experience in the hopes of someday becoming an NHL head coach or maybe he’ll continue in his existing role and eventually become an NHL general manager. Time will tell.

  1. packerswin96 - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Why would he think that he could coach in the NHL when he has almost ZERO coaching experience at any level?

  2. timmylaz99 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Boo damn hoo – Get over your sense of entitlement and get some experience first before you start crying about not being named coach.

    • bleedbluebaby - Jun 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      First of all… Messier is a legend for rangers hockey so show some respect. Secondly, he never once came out expecting the job was his because of his title. He’s just disappointed and rightfully so if he had his hopes on the job. Personally I would like to see him get a little coaching experience but not as a head coach. Rangers fans have a habit of decapitating head coaches that last past a few years. I would never want to see messier treated that way.

  3. biffnasty - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    would have loved to see him behind the bench for the Rangers but it really would not have been the best thing for the team. they were right to go with V

  4. rpiotr01 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    That’s not the way it works, Mess. You can’t jump onto the ice and lead by example when the players on the bench don’t do what you want. Get some experience in the minors or as an assistant somewhere, see how a pro does it. He’s still young, plenty of time for a coaching career in NY to happen.

    • ray2013 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      That’s my thought exactly. The NYR have a farm team, why not use his current clout to get himself a position coaching in the AHL? Learn the ropes in the farm, surround yourself with veteran coaches who can teach Mess about coaching. Get to know the next generation of NYR players, and when AV runs out his welcome (and all coaches do) he’ll be perfectly situated to take over.

  5. gman16 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    I am told that all Mess did for the past few years was sit on his a66, act cocky and did absolutely nothing (even when offered by those with experience) that would have even remotely prepared him to coach an NHL team. he thought the job was going to be handed to him. I am no fan of Dolan or Slats, but the right “non-call” was made here,

  6. bill1672 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I always thought Messier was being groomed for the gm job when Sather retires, never thought he was interested in coaching. If Mark is truly interested in coaching,he has to pay his dues as an assistant coach, and work his way up.

    • stakex - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Yeah it certainly seemed like he was hanging around being groomed to replace Sather when that day finally comes. It doesn’t make sense he would hang around as special assistant to Sather if what he really wanted to do is coach the team. You think he would have been off getting coaching experience somewhere.

      Of course its possible this was just a spur of the moment decision by Messier.

  7. 19to77 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    How can he be offended that they went with a guy who’s actually coached an NHL team, and had great success with it (for a few seasons anyway) over a guy with no experience at all? Go and earn your stripes as an assistant coach somewhere else, or an AHL coach maybe. You’re not entitled to the job because of what you did as a player 18 freaking years ago.

  8. bttrflykm - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!! Good player does NOT make a good coach….. So stop your whining and get some experience.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Lots of good players have become good coaches. I think you mean great players becoming great coaches. 14 Hall of Fame players have coached teams to the Stanley Cup, but just two in the last 40 years. And those two, Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson both started closer to the middle than the top.

  9. hockeyflow33 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Go buy a junior team and coach there or just coach at the minor league level, who will turn him down there?

  10. dprouse - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    In case anyone wondered is Messier has a sense of entitlement, wonder no longer. I would agree with all of the above comments, and further note that his buddy Wayne Gretzky didn’t exactly set the world on fire as a coach. Adam Oates and Dale Hawerchuk are having to build their coaching chops the old fashioned way, but Messier thinks he is special. Please…

  11. stakex - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I really like Messier, and he did great things for the Rangers organization. If not for him, they might still be chanting 1940 in the Garden.

    However, that doesn’t make him entitled to the job as Rangers coach with no previous experience, and he should be mature enough to know that. There are high expectations in NY this coming season, and no one (not even an idiot like Sather) is going to put the teams fate into the hands of a rookie coach with no experience.

    Though Sather should have tried to convince Vigneault to accept Messier as an assistant. That way he could get some experience and perhaps be ready for the job next time around.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Actually, I think the “1940” chants were heard in Nassau where even younger fans fondly recalled their then-still-recent 4 straight Cups.
      And having lost out on the job he wanted might make it a bit awkward for Messier to be Vigneault’s assistant.

  12. 950003cups - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Hero’s turning to coaching can be a disaster. Just ask John MacLean of the Devils.

  13. bcisleman - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Please don’t cry, Mess…you are breaking my heart!!!! Slats should be more sensitive to Mess and his feelings. He’s a VERY sensitive guy!

  14. dumbassgreg - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    hope they had kleenex near by messier will cry at the drop of a hat. now it his time to show he is serious be assistant somewhere go to ahl or junior coach a few years. or just stay with rangers collect your big check stab sather in the back take his job messier is good at throwing others under the bus for his failures. he also could go work in deadmonton but that would mean living there. even though he from edmonton he hates it there . gretzky who is not from there goes back much more often then messier. mark messier leadership award please.amazing nhl has a messier trophy but no gretzky,orr,beliveau.lemieux what a joke.

  15. packerswin96 - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    Go home Messier, you are drunk!!!

  16. broncs93 - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Why isn’t it ok that Mess is disappointed? He watches Jason Kidd retire and get a head coaching job the next week, but he can’t even be disappointed at not getting the job? Mess will be a good head coach and I hope he gets a shot. Maybe when V fails.

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