SoHo, NY–Mark Messier has left the New York Rangers organization, citing his pet project–the Kingsbridge National Ice Center–as motive for the departure.
In a statement released to the public, the former 6-time Stanley Cup champion and former Conn Smythe recipient explains that the Rangers’ choice of Alain Vigneault for the coaching position left vacant after John Tortorella’s firing, in no way motivated his decision to leave the organization.
I completely respect the decision that was made and for all the reasons it was made [...] I harbor no hard feelings toward Glen or the Rangers. This is a personal choice I am making to create a program in the New York area that will give our children more choices and opportunities in the future.
In philosophy class the aforementioned statement made by the former Ranger captain is called a paralipsis–a statement that attempts to underplay an emphasis being made in the same statement, something made famous by a little known Greek thinker named Socrates.
Here’s a modern day example: “Hey Joey, I don’t mean any disrespect, but your breath stinks.” See, we kind of do it all the time without noticing.
Anyway, Messier has always been equated with honesty, and most importantly, forthcomingness. If you all remember, Messier promised to bring the Rangers to the forefront of the NHL and he did; he promised to deliver a championship, and he did. His entire reputation, therefore, rests upon the accuracy and integrity of his word as both a player and a man.
Today, however, he feel down to earth and showed that sports is, and always will be a business, where loyalty is only as long or as permanent as it suits an individual’s interest.
I tend to find Messier’s move a bit disingenuous to say the least, or, at the most a feeble attempt at NOT burning bridges with the Rangers organization.
He could’ve easily said, outright, I left because I feel as if coaching is something within my sphere of possibilities and capabilities. If not say such things, act upon such impulses by going back to Edmonton and coaching there.
To say that he’s leaving because for altruistic motives ruins some of Messier’s credibility as an individual within the NHL and as an NHL ambassador overall, in my opinion.
Simply put, if the Kingsbridge project was/is so pressing in his life, why did Messier even bother applying for the coaching job?
The way I see it, Messier sees the writing on the wall for Glen Sather, and did the best thing for his future GM plans, which is to jump ship.
I don’t blame Mark Messier at all for leaving the Rangers, and quite frankly, I don’t necessarily fault the Rangers for choosing Vigneault over the former champion for the coaching job. Now’s not the time to experiment with this Rangers team.
All that I would ask if I were a Rangers fan is some more of that frankness I’ve come to expect from this class act of a player/individual.
I still respect him, let me say, but there’s a bit of grime to that luster now.
The Rangers find themselves without their iconic figure at the helm and within their environs, as the team scrambles continues desperately to find their identity.
Interesting to see if Messier returns to the NHL as a coach in the near future, even as an assistant. Or perhaps, Messier is even crafty than all that and is simply awaiting the end of Sather’s tenure and return as the savior, yet again, for those Broadway Blues from Midtown.