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Brooks: Apprenticeship the best route to coaching for Messier

When I hear Red Wings player mentor Chris Chelios state that he'd like to get into coaching once his sons and daughters complete their college athletic careers, I often fear that it's a matter of time until the Wings will have to bid farewell to Chelios so that he can spend a couple of years working his way up the ECHL or AHL coaching ranks before surfacing with a rival NHL team.

For the past three years, we've heard rumblings that Mark Messier wanted to do nothing less than begin his coaching career behind the New York Rangers' bench, and while it appears that Alain Vigneault will succeed John Tortorella instead of Messier (Merriam-Webster uses "succeed" as "to come next after another"), some still believe that the unproven Messier might do a better job than Vigneault.

The New York Post's Larry Brooks suggests that it's fine and dandy that Messier wants to coach, but if that's the plan, Messier should work his way up to Broadway from the Rangers' AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, not the other way around:

That is the place for Messier, passed over in his bid to start his career behind the bench at the top, to begin. That is the place for Messier to build a foundation that will take him on the path to the NHL.

That is the place general manager Glen Sather would all but certainly be happy to place Messier in conjunction with making current head man and well respected organization soldier Ken Gernander an associate coach.

That is the place for Messier to learn and to showcase himself not merely to the Rangers, but to 30 NHL teams whose coaches operate on a carousel.

It’s not about paying dues. It’s about gaining experience independent of the experience that comes with a Hall of Fame career of 25 seasons. It’s about gaining experience leading a team from behind the bench, not from within the room and on the ice.


At another time and in another place, the Rangers would have gone for Messier. But not now, not with the risk factor so high and not with Alain Vigneault an alternative too difficult to reject.

What Messier, a proud, proud, confident man who no doubt is wounded by the decision, should understand is he himself wasn’t rejected by the Rangers and Sather, his absence of a coaching resume was.

The Rangers didn’t need to hire someone to make a splash. They didn’t need to hire someone to steal the Back Page. They didn’t need to hire an icon. They needed to hire a coach.

Brooks continues and offers a re-take on the possibility of Brad Richards being bought out, as well as a remarkably vicious--and accurate--dig at Pittsburgh's puck pundits.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink



Was Gretzkey ever interested? Or just a rumor?

Posted by rjman48 from Royal Oak on 06/16/13 at 08:26 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

That story died in a hurry.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/16/13 at 08:40 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

I once took a job I felt unqualified for that promised to train me up in a hurry.  I hated it, stayed too long, went into depression AND I didn’t have to look at Larry Brooks every day.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/16/13 at 05:00 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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