News speculating around New York this week has it that ‘The Messiah’, ‘The Captain’ and former heart and soul of Broadway Mark Messier is a leading candidate to replace recently axed New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
Messier, remembered by all as the hero of New York’s 1994 Stanley Cup Championship run, has been part of the Rangers organization since 2009 while working as special assistant to GM Glen Sather. While Messier’s name been thrown into the ring as a potential leader behind the bench a number of times, after passing on the position in years past, many felt his off the ice career path had him next in line as successor to the aging Sather’s throne.
When you factor in Messier’s limited coaching experience (two international tournaments in 2010), the availability of recently fired and longtime Sabers coach Lindy Ruff, former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and even The Great One Wayne Gretzky interested in the job, putting Messier at the helm of the ship would be a purely emotional play in jump starting the players psyche rather than one based purely upon coaching experience.
While Messier is arguably one of the greatest leaders the NHL and the sports world has ever seen, what’s not clear is how that leadership would translate behind the players bench. With over 6 cups to his name and an unquestioned ability to carry a team on his back, the challenge facing Sather is understanding exactly how Messier’s inspiration could have an impact on the teams success between the end lines.