After a disappointing season that ended with a loss to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs, the New York Rangers let their head coach John Tortorella go. The Rangers have yet to begin interviewing candidates for the vacant position but according to a report on ESPN, Mark Messier is expected to be in the mix for the position.
Messier is a beloved figure in New York City after he helped end a 54-year drought in 1994 to bring the Stanley Cup back to the Big Apple. The Hall-of-Fame player won six Stanley Cups altogether: five with the Edmonton Oilers before helping New York’s magical run in 1994. Messier was the captain of the Rangers team that year for head coach Mike Keenan.
Perhaps the most famous moment of that season, though, was the fact that Messier guaranteed a victory in Game 6 of the the Eastern Conference Finals despite the Rangers being down 3-2 in the series. The captain put his money where his mouth was, so to speak, as he went out and scored a hat trick in the 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Game 7 went into double-overtime before the Rangers finally won the game 2-1. The Rangers would then beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to capture the Stanley Cup.
This is the type of persona that the Rangers need as a head coach. Not only is Messier well-versed in his knowledge of the game, but he’s passionate as well. Although many passionate people have failed, it goes beyond words to describe the respect Messier would command as a head coach for any NHL team — but especially the Rangers.
Everyone knows the New York media will have a field day with lesser people, but there’s something about Messier that is intriguing. Perhaps it’s the knowledge, or perhaps its the fact that he’s one of the greatest players to ever put on skates. Maybe its the fact that he helped end a Stanley Cup drought in a city that demands success.
Whatever the reason, the Rangers should consider this option first and foremost and exhaust it before they move any further. I know of at least one hockey fan that would love to see the 52-year-old Messier standing behind the Rangers bench starting next season.