Gretzky, Messier interested in Rangers gig?

  • MikeProsser

Both Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were teammates in New York. Could one of them be the next coach? (courtesy of worldathletes.com)

Could it be? Is it possible that either “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky or fellow Hall of Famer Mark Messier could be in line to coach the New York Rangers? Sources say yes it is!

According to NHL.com, both Messier and Gretzky  are reportedly looking to coach the recently coachless Blue Shirts after John Tortorella was fired.

The legendary Messier has been working for the Rangers in a special advisory role with General Manager Glen Sather. Gretzky however has been out of hockey since being fired by the Coyotes in 2009. Messier won four Stanley Cups in the 1980’s with the Oilers (and Gretzky) but one-uped “The Great One” in the Cup department in 1994 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks while in a Rangers uniform.

While Mark has never coached, Wayne was named coach of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2005, but after four less than stellar

Gretzkey as coach of the Coyotes (courtesy of cbc.ca)

years at the helm, Gretzky was let go. He took with him a record of 143-161-24, a less than stellar draft record (which wasn’t entirely his fault but I digress) and a team that look overall disoriented when on the ice. The few bright spots in Gretzky’s tenure as head coach was the ‘Yotes selections of Keith Yandle, Martin Hanzel, and Peter Mueller (though Mueller is now elsewhere).

Also on Sather’s list of replacements are Dallas Eakins of the Toronto Marlies in the AHL, and recently fired Alain Vigneault, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks. Don’t be surprised if Lindy Ruff is also a name you hear attached to this job.

Personally I don’t think you’ll see Wayne Gretzky behind the bench of the Rangers any time soon. He proved to the world that he’s the Michael Jordan of hockey on the ice and off the ice with less than stellar coaching, just as Jordan has done a less than stellar job as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be Charlotte Hornets but again I digress). And let’s not forget the Rich Tocchet gambling scandal (Tocchet was an assistant on Gretzky’s staff when the scandal story broke).  Messier has no experience but I could see him being brought in as an assistant somewhere to prove himself if he TRULY wants to start coaching. Look for Sather to pick an established name for an established roster who will immediately garner the team’s respect and will receive it first hand.

 

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