Noted trophy presenter Mark Messier is parting ways with the Rangers after four years as "special assistant," which was a made-up job anyway.
"I am resigning my position with the Team to pursue an opportunity to expand the game of hockey in the New York area by developing the Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Although some will perceive this as a reaction to the coaching decision, nothing could be further from the truth. 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."
Glen Sather says they parted on "great" terms, and Messier swears up and down that his decision has nothing to do with Alain Vigneault's hire. But I doubt that Messier would be working for a private ice rink in the Bronx if the Rangers had offered him the gig.
Messier, still beloved at MSG, has no NHL coaching experience, but has repeatedly made known his interest in being a head coach somewhere. Not that a few years as an assistant coach would necessarily guarantee the top job, Patrick Ewing didn't say but probably would if you asked him.
It seems possible that Messier joins the front office of one of his other former teams, moving to Vancouver to continue his scavenger-bird vigil over John Tortorella's job.
The future of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, formerly the Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by COLD-fX, is unknown.