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06-12-2013, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Danbury, CT
I think that over the years I have made my feeling regarding Messier pretty straight.
I dispised the way he handled his departure from the Rangers in 97. In my view this was a straight money grab. He was offered the same contract Gretzky received and he bolted for 20 Million Guaranteed and 30 Mill overall if he stayed with Vancouver for the full 5 years.
My preference was that he didn't come back. I would have preferred that the team go in a different direction but that was not to be. While I do not believe that Mark Messier verbally demanded prime ice time, I don't think that he HAD to verbalize it. This is/was Mark Messier afterall, a 1st Ballot Hall of Famer still playing the game. If he's in the line up, he's going to get prime minutes.
I have stated my disdain for the man on numerous occassions and will continue to do so when talking about that part of Rangers history.
That said, I have started to come around on Mark Messier the Head Coach.
I share in the belief that most Great players make for very bad coaches because during their playing days they never really had to think the game. Talent is innate to them and knowing what to do and where to be is second nature. And while Mark Messier is a great player in that vein, he is also a great player in the sense of knowing his responsibilities defensively.
I think that that is what may seperate him from some other great players that have failed as Head Coaches. Similar to Jacques Lemiare. Lemaire was a top notch player in his own right. Just under a point a game average. Scored 30+ goals 6 times. Has 139pts in 145 playoff games. Yet Lemaire was a GREAT defensive player. He understood the game from the back end which I believe helps you understand how to formulate an attack from the defensive position.
Mark Messier was an above average defensive player. He's not an offensive only player that never had to think the game. He's a hybrid in the sense that he could have been one of the greats on just his offence, but it's the whole package that makes him a very VIABLE option when it comes to coaching.
Would I have preferred that he have some experience under his belt before taking the reins? Yes, but I have been wanting this team to think outside the box. Going after re-tread HC after retread HC in my opinion is not the way to go.
AV had a stacked team in Vancouver and couldn't get the job done. What can we expect from him on a team that is much less than stacked? A better job?
Ruff by all accounts, lost his top stars at various times during his tenure in Buffalo. I had two guys in the office yesterday that live in Buffalo and are die hard Sabres fans and they liken his tenure in Buffalo to a guy not getting fired because he was a nice guy, not because of the on ice product.
Bylsma finally had to work a series and got worked. He's had the best player in the world and arguably the 2nd best player in the world throughout his tenure in Pitt and aside from the CUP, he's been a dissapointment behind the bench getting beat in the following 4 years by three very inferior teams in Montreal, Tampa Bay and Philidelphia. It very well could be argued that this Bruins team was also inferior, but they way the Bruins have played since round one, I wouldn't put stock into that statement.
I'm not saying that Messier is by any stretch the hands down best option. But if we are looking for a fresh approach by a guy that can formulate an attach while understanding and respecting the defensive aspect of the game, I am starting to believe that Mark Messier is not such a bad choice at all.
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