Monday, June 3, 2013

Perceptions

(New York Post)
Forgive me if I don't jump on the "Mark Messier for New York Ranger head coach" bandwagon because it is an idea that is colored in large part by the image at the top of the page. Don't get me wrong as Mark Messier's "guarantee" is to me even bigger than St├ęphane Matteau's goal in game 7 against the Devils. When Messier said that the Rangers will win he joined Joe Namath, Reggie Jackson and Willis Reed as New York City legends.

And I do remember that it was Messier who scored the game winner against the Vancouver Canucks to deliver that Stanley Cup that took 54 years to get there. How can I not since it is the only Ranger Stanley Cup that I have seen in my 54 years.

But that was in 1994 and this is 2013 and what is missing from the Messier resume isn't the Stanley Cups but rather experience as a NHL coach. Coaching 2 Canadian teams in minor tournaments does not make one qualified to coach in the NHL. Forget the legend part of Mark Messier and view him strictly on his qualifications to coach the New York Rangers and sadly he doesn't pass muster.

If Mark Messier had shown interest in becoming a NHL coach then he should have worked as an assistant. There is no way that John Tortorella would have been able to turn down Messier's request to become one of his assistants. Ranger fans would have run Tortorella out of town a whole lot sooner if he had refused adding Messier.

If Messier would have worked as a coach during training camp or at Traverse City then we are talking a different story. Where was Messier to mentor Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller or Chris Kreider? There isn't a single Ranger prospect who would have refused to learn from Messier. I watch how Ranger prospects respond when they talk about Adam Graves working with them and I ask why hasn't Messier played the same role as Graves?

Now if you want to talk about someone who would make a great coach or even NHL General Manager then that is Adam Graves. Graves has done the legwork to learn how to do either job and is viewed as one of the smartest people in hockey, Messier has done a solid job learning the ropes in becoming an NHL General Manager but the same can not be said for coaching.

Remember this?
New York Ranger fans are forgiving but many of those clamoring for Messier as the next head coach of the Rangers also wanted him gone back in 2002-04. People have forgotten that Messier wasn't the same player when he returned to the Rangers back in 2000. One has to wonder just how much of a love affair would Messier have as the coach of the Rangers?

Oh don't get me wrong I too prefer the Messier of 1994 than I do the Messier of 2004. I have this huge fear that Mark Messier would get hired for all the wrong reasons as the coach of the New York Rangers. When you see people talking about Messier as coach with Brian Leetch, Jeff Beukeboom and Mike Richter as his assistants then sorry it is trying to live in the past when the Rangers badly need to think about the future.

And that future does not have Mark Messier as the coach of the Rangers sorry.

Shane McColgan


I guess I did a poor job explaining why Shane McColgan wasn't offered a contract by the Rangers so I hope I can clear it up here. Gordie Clark and the Rangers have been consistent in what it takes to earn a contract from the Rangers and it starts with making progress from the moment a prospect is drafted. It isn't always about goals, assists and points but it is about improving on and off the ice that gets you the contract.



But here is the cold harsh reality of the NHL and that is not every draft pick gets signed to a contract and not every prospect who does get signed makes it to the NHL. Every year I watch the Rangers make the decision to not sign a prospect and yes I do feel bad for them but at the same time this is a business. I hate to see it because I get to know these young men over the 2-4 years that they work at getting that contract.

In the 9 seasons I have been doing this there has only been 4 prospects who I didn't want to see the Rangers sign to a contract (and no I will not reveal their names) because I didn't think they were the kind of players to represent the Rangers. That is a very small percentage when you consider how many prospects the Rangers have drafted. Shane McColgan is a good kid but sometimes you have to go the extra mile to earn a contract.

McColgan was hurt by his size and that his numbers just didn't jump out over the last 2 seasons. I was rooting for McColgan as I watched his performance against the Portland Winterhawks during the 2011 WHL playoffs and liked what I saw. But on that part alone you can see he just didn't repeat that effort.

If McColgan has put up an 8-11-19 playoff run this season then he would be signed, sealed and delivered.

I hope that McColgan can turn his overage season in the WHL into a NHL contract as he is a good playmaker and can run a power play very well.

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