Pat Leonard at the Daily News reports that Mark Messier wants to become the 35th head coach in New York Rangers history.
Meanwhile, Nick Kypreos at Sportsnet not only reiterates Leonards report on Messier, he adds that Wayne Gretzky is also interested.
In four seasons coaching the Coyotes, Gretzky compiled a 143-161-24 record and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
…hold on to your hats Rangers fans, this could get interesting. If this was pre-2004 lockout, I'd say it would be a slam dunk that one or even both of those guys would be behind the bench this fall. But I'm going to give Sather the benefit of the doubt and assume he'll do the right thing and at least consider other candidates.
…having said that, because of Messier and Gretzky's obvious relationship with Sather, I have to think they're at the very top of the list.
…ok, deep breath. Instead of freaking out about what a complete and utter debacle that would be for the Rangers franchise, I'm going to try and put a positive spin on it. The negatives of both guys are obvious, but how about this idea….hire both of them. I know, you must think I started drinking early this morning. I have, but that's besides the point. Listen to me out. First off, Gretzky would have to be the head coach with Messier as the assistant. I just don't see how throwing Messier to the wolves like that can benefit anyone. Back to Gretzky. Yes, he had a rough time out in Phoenix, but those weren't good teams and I'm not sure many coaches could have gotten them into the postseason. Plus, just because he failed in Phoenix doesn't automatically mean he'd do the same for another organization. If you remember, Joe Torre wasn't exactly Casey Stengel before coming the Yankees. I know that great players don't usually translate into great coaches, but having this goal scoring challenged Rangers team learn from the greatest offensive player the NHL has ever seen can't be a bad thing, can it?
…to me, having Messier as Gretzky's assistant coach could be a perfect fit. He'd gain valuable and much needed experience behind the bench for an eventual promotion and, in my opinion, is the ideal candidate to be the bad cop to Gretzky's good cop. When the team needs a kick in the pants, Gretzky can send one of the most intimidating players to every lace them up into the locker room to get the team re-focused. I'm not even sure he'd have to say anything to the team, he'd just give them that Messier stare. I think I just crapped myself thinking about it. And we all know the passion and heart he'd bring to the table on Day 1, which would hopefully rub off on a Rangers team sorely lacking it last year. As far as his responsibilities go, even if the power play sucked under his guidance it would still be an upgrade over what we had to endure the last few years under Sullivan.
…so who would run the defense, you say? Jeff Beukeboom, of course.