Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/20/09 at 04:12 PM ET
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
Mark Messier’s title with the New York Rangers is Special Assistant to the President, one of those felicitous-sounding designations that could mean almost anything. The widespread guess it best translates to “GM general in waiting.” The assumption is Blueshirts president Glen Sather will muddle on for the next few years, show Messier the ropes and eventually turn the daily operations of the team over to the dauphin.
There are pitfalls to a neat succession, of course, but this seems to be a career path already working splendidly for players of stature like Messier. Joe Nieuwendyk, who has Hall-worthy credentials, already has taken a GM seat in Dallas after understudying in Florida and Toronto. Al MacInnis has been getting rave reviews for his work in player development with the St. Louis Blues. Steve Yzerman might not be ahead of the estimable Jim Nill on the Detroit Red Wings front office pyramid—Nill, GM Ken Holland’s top assistant, is the league executive most deserving of running his own team—but he’s already shown enough to be Team Canada’s GM for the 2010 Olympics, among the most stressful jobs in hockey.
From Ron Francis in Carolina (player development) in Carolina to Luc Robitaille in Los Angeles (president of business operations), Messier’s generation of stars is generally proving itself capable in executive capacity.
The only question is whether Messier will be willing to put in the work.
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