With Vigneault in, could Messier be an option as assistant?

Image Credit: Mark Messier Project
Image Credit: Mark Messier Project

While Mark Messier has revealed he has already interviewed for the Rangers head coaching job, the likelihood all points to Alain Vigneault being awarded the job. In all honesty this would be not only the less risky option, but the right option. First time coaches rarely succeed in major markets such as New York, even if you’re a Mark Messier type character, but especially when you have little to no coaching experience.

That said, could Messier be an option for the Rangers long term? Absolutely. The Rangers could look at an alternative plan. The potential is there for Messier to be an assistant coach. He could learn the coaching side of the game while the incoming head coach could benefit from the leadership, demanding personality, and likely face-off coaching skills Messier could bring. Could Messier be groomed toward a head coaching role? The potential is there.

Of course this has to be off set against whether a new coach would prefer to bring their own people in or not, and whether Messier would be a distraction to the new Head Coach. Having a Mark Messier in your corner can be a looming threat as well as a potential advantage. However, the potential benefits for the Rangers (of including Messier) ¬†are tempting whether it’s likely or not.

Having Messier around the players on a daily basis –even in a lesser capacity– would allow for his character to rub off on others. His demanding approach, his experience, and his aura would all surely have an impact on the roster. Messier could work with the centers and develop their skill sets. Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard would surely benefit from one to one time with Mark Messier. Messier’s presence on a daily level would surely invigorate the New York market and make the Rangers front page news. His involvement would add a sub plot to the quest for the Cup, and Messier’s motivation to even further instill his place in Rangers history – this time as a coach – would provide a real hunger for success.

In the past we have discussed the need for the Rangers to draw from former players such as Brian Leetch to help under performing aspects such as the powerplay, and having Messier on board could provide a similar tonic. The assistant coaching spots could do with fresh impetus, and who better than the captain to provide it? He’d guarantee you success wouldn’t he?

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  • Now we are thinking with our brains, and not our hearts!

    Mess could, and would be a great assistant, work 1 on 1 with the kids, let some of his skills, personally, and drive rub off on the team in general.

    Brian Leetch would be a nice addition as well. He could work with the puck moving d-men, teach them, the art of PP-QB, and he also benefits by getting the desired experience needed if he has higher aspirations!

    The only question though, and it’s a big one, can Mess play second fiddle to AV, or any other coach?? If the answer is yes, great, let’s run with this new coaching staff!

    As to the question, Would Mess be a distraction, if he has the best interest of the team, and long term goal of being the head coach of the Rangers, I believe Mark will cooperate with AV. AV also has to understand that any coach is hired to be fired some day. Knowing that, Mark shouldn’t be a problem for AV, he’s an adult who has been around the block a few times!

  • You can’t put him on the bench with AV for all the obvious reasons. Can you imagine what it would be like if they get off to a slow start, with a new coach, and the “Messiah” on the bench next to him? It would be a circus. Better off to use him as an off-ice coach and consultant. Same goes for Leetch, and any other names from from that era. The real thing to watch for now is whether Messier gets insulted for being passed over, and decides to leave the Org. That might determine whether he ever would have a future as a NYR Coach.

    • None of that can/will happen. There’s way too much talent on this team. It may take some time for the players to get used to the new system but AV is known to change his phylosophies to fit the team. He did it last year in Vancouver. They were 22nd league wide on the PP and middle of the NHL in goals per game. This is due to a more defensive approach. I expect changes to be made if AV is named coach but there’s just too much star power on the Rangers and a voice like Messier would help the transition. I think if Messier is not the head coach this is the next best thing. Remember that Sather said he wants a short term option for the next coach. Not someone that is gonna be there long enough to grow with the team. Maybe that’s not best for Messier anyway.

    Here is what Glen should do if he wants to MAXIMIZE this teams potential next year, as we should be a contender….#1-Hire Vigneault..No Brainer…If Messier & Leetch are truly interested in coaching, this will be a golden opportunity to learn, along side one of the best, as assistant coaches…Lets get it done Glen…!!!

        • This is all past tense. AV and Sather have already had their discussion about assistant coaches. How else does Sather assess how good a fit he is, but by discussing relevant topics. Sather will agree to the new coach’s team, that’s a given. Perhaps AV embraced using Messier and/or Leetch (which would have made a good impression), perhaps not.

      • PRETTY SIMPLE….Glen proposes that he can bring in a couple of his hand picked assistants, and again, and this is a huge IF..Are Messier & Leetch even interested in being assistant coaches…BIG IF…!!!!!

  • Honestly, I’d rather see Leetch brought on as an assistant/PP specialist. If Sather wants Mess as an assistant, fine. Let him get some experience.

  • That won’t happen because Messier will end up doing the coaching and that will lead to friction. Typical Sather move, hire the wrong guy.

  • My understanding of AV is he allows his team a lot
    of flexibility to create on the offense…not exactly a bad thing.

    • With the Rangers’ current skill level, this is something that Torts’ system was sorely lacking.

  • But Jason Kidd can retire one week and be named head coach of an NBA team the next. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

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