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Old
04-12-2011, 11:29 PM
  #1
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Chris Russo

Does anybody know where I can find that interview Chris Russo had with Dave Checketts when Messier was forced out of NY in 97? I remember Russo bashing the hell outta Checketts that year.

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04-12-2011, 11:31 PM
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Mark Messier

What actually happened in 97 with Messier? Why did he end up going to the Canucks?

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04-13-2011, 03:22 AM
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The simplest answer is he wanted a bigger contract than the Rangers were willing to give him. It turned into a war of wills and off he went while the Rangers explored other options and it didn't work out for anybody.

Truth be told the Messier that came back to us later was on the decline--very often injured and more often than not a perimeter player. He still had leadership abilities but he should have retired two-three seasons before he actually did---the Rangers surrounding him those last years with has been all stars turning the team into a country club and a kind of laughingstock to the rest of the league--always way ahead of everyone in player salaries and never making the playoffs.

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04-13-2011, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
The simplest answer is he wanted a bigger contract than the Rangers were willing to give him. It turned into a war of wills and off he went while the Rangers explored other options and it didn't work out for anybody.

Truth be told the Messier that came back to us later was on the decline--very often injured and more often than not a perimeter player. He still had leadership abilities but he should have retired two-three seasons before he actually did---the Rangers surrounding him those last years with has been all stars turning the team into a country club and a kind of laughingstock to the rest of the league--always way ahead of everyone in player salaries and never making the playoffs.
Dont forget two things:

1) Checketts loved Gretzky over Messier
2) the Sakic offer sheet

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04-13-2011, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Media Savvy Lee View Post
Dont forget two things:

1) Checketts loved Gretzky over Messier
2) the Sakic offer sheet
How come nobody ever talks about Sakic signing with us. Arguably the top player in the league at the time in his prime. Jeez.

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04-13-2011, 08:45 AM
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I think Checketts and Smith thought that Gretzky would work like an interchangeable superstar with Messier.

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04-13-2011, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
The simplest answer is he wanted a bigger contract than the Rangers were willing to give him. It turned into a war of wills and off he went while the Rangers explored other options and it didn't work out for anybody.

Truth be told the Messier that came back to us later was on the decline--very often injured and more often than not a perimeter player. He still had leadership abilities but he should have retired two-three seasons before he actually did---the Rangers surrounding him those last years with has been all stars turning the team into a country club and a kind of laughingstock to the rest of the league--always way ahead of everyone in player salaries and never making the playoffs.
That is the simplest answer..but to elaborate on it further, the offer they gave to Messier was a low ball 1 year offer, designed to be rejected, and insulting for a man who had delivered the Stanley Cup 3 seasons earlier. Checketts stated that he didn't think Messier was worth $20 million USD for the next three years, and made in the infamous, "How long should we pay for that cup?" quote. Mess meanwhile had wanted to finish his career with the Rangers, and is quoted as saying he would have signed a one-year contract extension for under $6 million a season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Media Savvy Lee View Post
Dont forget two things:

1) Checketts loved Gretzky over Messier
2) the Sakic offer sheet
Also don't forget that the Garden decided that re-signing Patrick Ewing, who never won ANYTHING with the Knicks, was more important to them then re-signing Messier, the man who practically delivered the Cup. I still hate the Knicks with a passion to this day for that...and I don't even LIKE basketball!

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04-13-2011, 01:30 PM
  #8
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Smith and Checketts had Zero intention of resigning Messier. Messier made references of how he was "insulted on how Smith never called him and never came and had a beer with him on his boat that whole summer" he basically waited for them to call and they never did.

Instead Smith and Checketts had different plans. My guess is they saw Messier as aging and declining and wanted to go in a new direction. Colorado was rumored to have financial troubles and NY tried to steal him by front-loading a 21 million dollar contract. He signed with us and Colorado matched it.

In the mean time Vancouver called Messier and offered him an 18 million 3 year deal so he took it.

It's just another one of Neil Smith's bungling moves of his own. Another glaring example of when he's left up to his own ideas, they're terrible ones.

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04-13-2011, 01:51 PM
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I apologize and I'll admit my memory is a little murky--considering also that it's 13 some years ago. If we're going to be fair though to Smith (more than Checketts) especially--Messier always was a hard negotiation. He'd always use what leverage he could to get more and would often sit out the entire training camp--I'm not going to argue with it--I'm a union member myself--you do what you have to do in whatever occupation you find yourself in--but in this particular case the Rangers management felt they had the leverage and they used it. It screwed up the team even more but I think it should be kept in mind that Mark (though still a big star) was already beginning to decline and I think that was part of Smith's and Checkett's calculation.

The real failure of the late 90's pre-lockout Rangers was in it's failure to bring young quality players into the organization. The Rangers would trade draft picks and prospects--paid very little attention to player development and as a matter of strategy tried to buy themselves into being a contender. It didn't work.

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04-13-2011, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
I apologize and I'll admit my memory is a little murky--considering also that it's 13 some years ago. If we're going to be fair though to Smith (more than Checketts) especially--Messier always was a hard negotiation. He'd always use what leverage he could to get more and would often sit out the entire training camp--I'm not going to argue with it--I'm a union member myself--you do what you have to do in whatever occupation you find yourself in--but in this particular case the Rangers management felt they had the leverage and they used it. It screwed up the team even more but I think it should be kept in mind that Mark (though still a big star) was already beginning to decline and I think that was part of Smith's and Checkett's calculation.

The real failure of the late 90's pre-lockout Rangers was in it's failure to bring young quality players into the organization. The Rangers would trade draft picks and prospects--paid very little attention to player development and as a matter of strategy tried to buy themselves into being a contender. It didn't work.
While I stand by everything in my previous post, you make an EXCELLENT point. And perhaps Mess was a little cocky, and just assumed that when push came to shove, they would never in a million years let him go. Little did he know at that point, they were a.) Looking to sign Sakic, and b.) So in love with Gretzky, who for all his greatness, never won a cup without # 11. Meanwhile Messier won 2 without # 99.

And you are right about the 2nd part. I've said it a million times before, and I'll say it again...the ONLY reason the Rangers ever committed to a rebuild was because the lockout forced them too. If the lockout never happened, and they still had the ability to push the payroll as high as they wanted, there's a good chance we would STILL be as bad as we were in the 90's, when ALL they did was throw good money, after bad!

Lol..and who knows? Messier might even STILL be playing with us!!

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04-13-2011, 03:03 PM
  #11
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Originally Posted by TonyTheGr8 View Post
While I stand by everything in my previous post, you make an EXCELLENT point. And perhaps Mess was a little cocky, and just assumed that when push came to shove, they would never in a million years let him go. Little did he know at that point, they were a.) Looking to sign Sakic, and b.) So in love with Gretzky, who for all his greatness, never won a cup without # 11. Meanwhile Messier won 2 without # 99.

And you are right about the 2nd part. I've said it a million times before, and I'll say it again...the ONLY reason the Rangers ever committed to a rebuild was because the lockout forced them too. If the lockout never happened, and they still had the ability to push the payroll as high as they wanted, there's a good chance we would STILL be as bad as we were in the 90's, when ALL they did was throw good money, after bad!

Lol..and who knows? Messier might even STILL be playing with us!!
I'm in agreement on that. The lockout (as miserable as losing a season was) was just about the best thing to happen to the Rangers since they won the Stanley Cup in '94. It got them out of a mindset that had made the Rangers the biggest joke in the league.

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04-13-2011, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco's bones View Post
I apologize and I'll admit my memory is a little murky--considering also that it's 13 some years ago. If we're going to be fair though to Smith (more than Checketts) especially--Messier always was a hard negotiation. He'd always use what leverage he could to get more and would often sit out the entire training camp--I'm not going to argue with it--I'm a union member myself--you do what you have to do in whatever occupation you find yourself in--but in this particular case the Rangers management felt they had the leverage and they used it. It screwed up the team even more but I think it should be kept in mind that Mark (though still a big star) was already beginning to decline and I think that was part of Smith's and Checkett's calculation.

The real failure of the late 90's pre-lockout Rangers was in it's failure to bring young quality players into the organization. The Rangers would trade draft picks and prospects--paid very little attention to player development and as a matter of strategy tried to buy themselves into being a contender. It didn't work.

I loved Mess as a player. But let's remember that Messier forced his way out of his hometown Edmonton team to come to the Rangers, and then was about to sit out the raising of the banner at the Garden -- all because of contract disputes. The Rangers would have gladly signed him for 2 years at $10 million, but they knew he wouldn't accept it. Mess was in decline, and at that time the 3 years at $18 he got from the Canucks was steep. Mess never made the playoffs with Vancouver. Neil Smith was right in thinking that he shouldn't build around an aging superstar and did try to sign a younger Joe Sakic. But he was stunned when Colorado was able to match, and was left with little recourse.

Despite Smith's scouting background, his player development during with time with the Rangers left much to be desired. Actually, many of Smith's best moves in his career came early when he drafted Europeans in mid/late rounds -- e.g., Federov, Lidstrom with the Wings and Zubov with the Rangers -- well before other GM's considered drafting Europeans highly. Once the other GM's in the league caught up with him in that area, his drafting was quite poor. That, more than an aging Messier leaving, was the reason for the Ranger decline.

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04-13-2011, 04:59 PM
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Still, the way Smith and Checketts let Mess go was ****. And the Ranger players had to pay the price for that. I still think Messier had another 2-3 good years left, and he just didn't fit with the Canucks. Whereas if he were re-signed by Smith, Messier would've done a lot better.

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04-13-2011, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Media Savvy Lee View Post
Dont forget two things:

1) Checketts loved Gretzky over Messier

No, Checketts loved the Knicks over the Rangers.

That's the answer. He gave Ewing - who never won anything - the big bucks and gave Messier the shaft.

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04-13-2011, 07:17 PM
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No, Checketts loved the Knicks over the Rangers.

That's the answer. He gave Ewing - who never won anything - the big bucks and gave Messier the shaft.
AGREE WITH BOTH!!

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04-15-2011, 07:43 AM
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Wow.

Messier got the same offer that Gretzky got and was insulted.

Messier wanted more money than he was worth.

Checketts saw a fading player and was not willing to offer him 20+ million over three years (guaranteed) which is what Messier got from Vancouver.

As it turned out. Messier did anything BUT earn that 20 million.

Messier talked all winter long from January on that he understood that the Garden's focus was and should have been on Patrick Ewing and that he understood his place in the hirearchy of things. But when it came time to talk dollars and cents, Messier priced himself out of NY.

The Rangers paid him well enough for his efforts after the cup, it made no sense to continue overpaying for a fading player.

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04-15-2011, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyTheGr8 View Post
That is the simplest answer..but to elaborate on it further, the offer they gave to Messier was a low ball 1 year offer, designed to be rejected, and insulting for a man who had delivered the Stanley Cup 3 seasons earlier. Checketts stated that he didn't think Messier was worth $20 million USD for the next three years, and made in the infamous, "How long should we pay for that cup?" quote. Mess meanwhile had wanted to finish his career with the Rangers, and is quoted as saying he would have signed a one-year contract extension for under $6 million a season.



Also don't forget that the Garden decided that re-signing Patrick Ewing, who never won ANYTHING with the Knicks, was more important to them then re-signing Messier, the man who practically delivered the Cup. I still hate the Knicks with a passion to this day for that...and I don't even LIKE basketball!
I agree with Checketts. Messier threatened to hold out if he didn't get a shiny new 3 year 18 million dollar contract. The Rangers faced a PR nightmare if they didn't copitulate, which they did. Now three years later, a fading player wants a BIGGER contract? Cya and don't let the door hit you, where the good lord split you.

As for the 2nd bolded part, the Rangers offered Messier the same contract that Gretzky had. I believe it was for 4.75 million.

Messier proved to be full of crap if he was in fact quoted as saying he would sign a 1 year deal for less than 6 million. The offer was there, all he had to do was sign it.

What Messier wanted was to continue to be paid for what he did 3 years before regardless of the fact that his skills were declining rapidly. The series against Philly out and out showed that.

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04-15-2011, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Atoz View Post
No, Checketts loved the Knicks over the Rangers.

That's the answer. He gave Ewing - who never won anything - the big bucks and gave Messier the shaft.
Checketts was president of MSG.

When you oversee 2 seperate businesses, you tend to dedicate more resources to the entity that generates the most revenue.

Basketball has and will always generate more money for MSG than Hockey.

It's not that he loved one over the other, it's that he was being a responsible individual in terms of doing what was right by MSG and not any one individual.

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04-15-2011, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vipernsx View Post
Smith and Checketts had Zero intention of resigning Messier. Messier made references of how he was "insulted on how Smith never called him and never came and had a beer with him on his boat that whole summer" he basically waited for them to call and they never did.

Instead Smith and Checketts had different plans. My guess is they saw Messier as aging and declining and wanted to go in a new direction. Colorado was rumored to have financial troubles and NY tried to steal him by front-loading a 21 million dollar contract. He signed with us and Colorado matched it.

In the mean time Vancouver called Messier and offered him an 18 million 3 year deal so he took it.

It's just another one of Neil Smith's bungling moves of his own. Another glaring example of when he's left up to his own ideas, they're terrible ones.
The offer from Vancouver was 30 million over 5 years with an out after three years.

If Messier excercised the out, he got 2 million buyout.

The Rangers did extend an offer to Messier, it was the same offer that Gretzky signed. Messier felt insulted.

Who is Messier that they needed to go down to his boat and have a beer with him?

What sense does that make? Seriously, if you are that arrogant about your place in the organization then it's even better that we let him walk.

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04-15-2011, 08:20 AM
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Most of the players were Messier's side. I remember Leetch saying how he hated management for what they did to Messier.

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04-15-2011, 04:17 PM
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Most of the players were Messier's side. I remember Leetch saying how he hated management for what they did to Messier.
As great & classy as Leetch was, he was never the same without Messier, nor was he ever the leader Messier was.

When Edmonton traded Gretzky & half the team, Messier took it upon himself to lead the Oilers to a fifth Cup. The Oilers were in no way a dominant team anymore, but Messier rose to the challenge.

These things happen in sports -- teams break up. Leetch was never comfortable as the Rangers captain. He was a super, super player, but he was not a leader. I remember his interview between periods of first game of the season after Mess left where he admitted he thought the Rangers could not compete without Messier. Instead of rising to the challenge when his turn to lead came, Leetch sulked. I knew then & there, the Rangers were doomed. They never made the playoffs again with Leetch.

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04-15-2011, 04:25 PM
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These things happen in sports -- teams break up. Leetch was never comfortable as the Rangers captain. He was a super, super player, but he was not a leader.
I would agree with this for the most part. Leetch never seemed like the type that could really 'rally the troops'. Maybe there was a side of his leadership that we didn't see since we weren't in the locker room, but I likewise never really saw much obvious leadership coming from him on the ice.

But, that's really no slight to him. Not everyone is made to be that inspirational type of leader. Leetch was a great player and really should not have had to be pushed into assuming a leadership role he probably wasn't fit for.

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04-15-2011, 04:27 PM
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They referred to Leetch as the "reluctant captain" during his time wearing the C.

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