Rangers coaching search: If Mark Messier comes, will Brian Leetch join?

Jim McIsaac

A report indicates that Brian Leetch might join Mark Messier's staff in the event that he is hired as the next head coach of the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers continued their search for a head coach on Tuesday when the organization met with former Vancouver Canucks' head coach Alain Vigneault. It is believed that Vigneault made a strong impression with the Rangers. However, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that a contract offer is not imminent.

That's because the Rangers might be considering Mark Messier for the position.

Messier currently acts as the special assistant to team president Glen Sather and has reportedly expressed interest in the position despite lacking head coaching experience at the professional level. Brooks has learned that if Messier is offered the job, former-teammate Brian Leetch will likely join his staff as an assistant coach. Leetch also has no experience coaching at the professional level.

Brooks believes this lack of experience would require the team to hire an individual with an extensive coaching background to help the two rookie coaches.

From the outside looking in, this appears to be a rather extreme -- and risky -- measure to take. Brooks indicates that Messier's clout as a player would command respect of the players on the roster. He also astutely notes that Messier would need to find a way to maintain that respect throughout his tenure.

While Messier is obviously one of the best players to ever play the game, it doesn't mean his proficiency as a player will translate to being proficient as a coach. The Rangers have a considerable amount of talent on their roster. Is it worth risking that opportunity on an inexperienced coach?

It doesn't seem as though that's the most stable solution to the issue.

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