Two former Edmonton Oilers are rumored to be in contention to become the next head coach of the New York Rangers. Both Mark Messier and Doug Weight have had their names mentioned as potential candidates to replace the fired John Tortorella as the bench boss for the blue shirts, who greatly underachieved this past season.
Messier currently works alongside GM Glen Sather as his special assistant and according to Johnette Howard, he’s been offered the job in year’s past.
Bob McKenzie also tweeted that after the Oilers dismissed Tom Renney they approached Messier about the vacant coaching position in the city where he won five Stanley Cups. The reason why he didn’t take the job in Edmonton is not known, but McKenzie tweets that Messier’s love affair with New York City could be one possible reason. Hence why the opportunity to get into coaching at the age of 52 and be able to remain in New York could be appealing to the former Oilers’ captain.
As of Friday night, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reported that Messier has in fact let Sather know that he wants to become the next head coach of the New York Rangers.
Meanwhile, another former Oilers’ captain in Doug Weight has also had his name circulating the rumor mill as a potential replacement for Tortorella. Weight, who is currently an assistant coach with the New York Islanders could be a prime candidate to fill the vacancy according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Brooks highlights that Weight has been a key influence in helping the young Islander players develop, particularly budding superstar John Tavares. He also goes on to mention that Weight has an “outstanding power-play mind” and would bring instant value to the Rangers who were atrocious with the man-advantage during their series against the Boston Bruins.
Oiler fans recall Weight’s ability to read the ice exceptionally well and how he could quarterback the power play from the point. His experience as an assistant with the Islanders have helped him develop as a coach which could make him an appealing candidate for the Rangers.
There’s just one problem. Weight is still under contract with the Islanders and in case you forgot, they just happen to be the biggest rival to the New York Rangers. If Sather did want to interview the former Ranger and Oiler, he would need permission from the Islanders, who could also flat out refuse to give it to him. Talk about stirring the pot.
Doug McIntyre of ESPN.com (Insider Subscription required) captured how Islanders GM Garth Snow reacted to the question if he would provide permission by saying “hypotheticals are a waste of time.” Let the games begin.
Should either Weight or Messier land the Rangers coaching job, they would join another Oiler great who tried his hand at coaching after an illustrious career in the NHL; Wayne Gretzky coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons from 2005-09 and only had one winning season. He finished with a record of 143-161-24 and never made the playoffs during his time in the dessert, proving that success on the ice doesn’t always translate into success behind the bench.
Both Weight and Messier have no head coaching experience and although they could be poised to follow in Gretzky’s footsteps, maybe they could find a different level of success as head coach.
Leave us your comments on whether you hope either Doug Weight or Mark Messier lands the Rangers head coaching job.