Do The Fans Really Want Mark Messier As Head Coach?

Alexander Hassenstein

The New York media seems to think so.

Forget Alain Vigneault. Forget Dallas Eakins. Forget Lindy Ruff. Forget Dave Tippett. Forget, well, anyone who isn't named Mark Messier apparently.

It almost seems like every single New York MSM outlet made the decision to write about whether or not Messier would be worth the risk in their respective Sunday stories. I looked at that very same issue Saturday, wondering if Glen Sather would be willing to take a big risk and go for the potential grand slam (or potential strikeout) in Messier.

It's clear I'm not the only one. You can read about this here, here, here and here. Four different newspapers. Four different beat reporters. Andrew Gross -- who is linked above -- even gives a secondary view of the situation here.

Yes, it's very clear that Messier would be the media's dream coach. The guy who lead the Rangers to their only Stanley Cup since 1940 returning to try and bring the Rangers to their first Cup since 1994? Of course every media outlet would be talking about that possibility.

But nearly all of them claim Sather is in a rough spot if Messier publicly announces he wants the job. Why? From the fans I've spoken to, from the comments on this site and from the few e-mails I've already gotten on the subject fans actually don't want Messier. From what I've seen fans are saying things like "don't ruin a good thing" rather than "if Messier wants the job Slats better give it to him."

I don't buy Messier as a coach right now. I think it's too risky for a team that has the best goaltender in the NHL in his prime. I think Messier is a risk (although I will leave room to say he could be a fantastic coach; 50% of coaching is getting your players motivated and performing and Messier certianly brings those skills to the table) and right now the Rangers shouldn't be looking for a risk.

But Gross' second opinion did sort of hit home for me. Bringing Messier in would throw the Rangers back onto the national spotlight. Yes, the Rangers are NHL royalty and are obviously one of the biggest players in the NHL market, but bringing in Messier would put the Rangers on the map for all sports fans all across the country. Not that the Rangers need the extra attention, of course, but it would be interesting to see how much more fanfare the organization would get with Messier behing the bench.

Not that the idea of extra attention should make Sather go for Messier even if he thinks he should go with another choice, but you see where I'm coming from. It's never a bad thing when more people are talking about your organization. And trust me, people would tune in to see if Messier can bring the Rangers back to the promise land.

But other coaches are better suited to do just that.

Is Messier worth the risk? The media seems to think fans think so.

I'm not so sure.

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