After being passed up to coach the Rangers, Mark Messier isn’t sure of his future. Neither is general manager Glen Sather.
“I don’t really know what Mark is going to do,” Sather told New York Post’s Larry Brooks. “He was very disappointed when I called to tell him that we were going to hire Alain.
“He said he wanted to take a few days and would call me, but we haven’t spoken since.”
It’s hard to feel bad for Messier. He should understand that Sather made the right choice. Alain Vigneault will be introduced as the Rangers’ 34th coach tomorrow at Radio City. Vigneault’s experience behind the bench is necessary for a group who wants to contend for the Cup. You don’t bring in someone who’s never coached before. As popular as Messier is, it was too huge a risk. Hopefully, Vigneault is the right fit. He reportedly signed for five years $10 million.
The past four years, Messier has been a special assistant to Sather. If he wants to make the move to coaching, he should be willing to earn it. Starting in the AHL would be ideal. He could become an assistant to Ken Gernander and work his way up. Messier shouldn’t sulk over being snubbed. Sather did what was best for the organization.
Sather also discussed the Ranger season. While he wasn’t specific on why he made a change, the President and GM was more in touch with the club alluding to injuries that hurt their chances.
“At the start of the year we all expected to go further than we did, but with everything that happened and seeing what the Bruins have been able to do, I can’t say we underachieved,” he pointed out. “Take a look at [Ryan] Callahan, he must have separated his shoulder eight or nine times during the year and he kept playing. Same with [Carl] Hagelin.
“These guys played with [courage]. Losing [Marc] Staal was a huge blow for us. Everyone has injuries, I know, but I thought we hung in really well.”
He also confirmed that Rick Nash had a concussion.
“That’s when a lot of the injuries started. When [Milan] Lucic rammed Nash from behind and gave him a concussion.”
Nash still finished first on the club with 21 goals and second in scoring with 42 points. Derek Stepan paced them with 44.