No announcement yet.

Messier Retires

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Messier Retires

    Mark Messier retires, ending 25-year NHL career
    By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer
    September 12, 2005

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Mark Messier retired Monday, ending a 25-year career in which he won six Stanley Cup championships and ranked second only to Wayne Gretzky on the NHL all-time scoring list.

    Messier became a star in Edmonton in the 1980s and a headliner on Broadway in the '90s, captaining the New York Rangers to the '94 championship that ended the team's 54-year title drought.

    ``I've had a long career and I've achieved a lot and there was nothing left for me to really achieve,'' the 44-year-old Messier said on a conference call. ``It was time for me to move aside and go into something else.''

    He doesn't have anything set up yet, but Messier said he is willing to listen to any offers that will keep him closely tied to the game he still loves.

    Even though the official announcement came Monday, Messier all but said goodbye on March 31, 2004, following the Rangers' final home game before the lockout that wiped out all of last season.

    He didn't really want to come back then and added he was itching to return more now than last year when the labor dispute shut down the game.

    The Rangers held physicals for their players on Monday at the opening of training camp, but the longtime star never expressed intentions to return for another season.

    ``I've really had the opportunity to take my time and see how I felt physically and emotionally,'' the two-time MVP said. ``As tough as it to make the decision, I think it's the right one and I feel good about it.''

    But Rangers general manager Glen Sather, the architect of the Oilers' dynasty that was spearheaded by Messier and Gretzky, always left room for the rock-jawed captain to come back.

    On Jan. 12, the Rangers will retire his No. 11 to the rafters before a game against the Oilers. That will give him a chance to better show his emotions. Messier said he made the announcement on a conference call because, ``no one wants to see a blubbering idiot at the podium.''

    Messier teamed with Gretzky to win four championships in Edmonton during the 1980s and then won another in 1990 after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles. The 16-time All-Star is the only player to captain two franchises to the Stanley Cup.

    He trails only Gretzky in playoff goals and assists, but he topped the Great One by adding one postseason guarantee that took him to heightened status in Manhattan.

    With the Rangers trailing New Jersey 3-2 in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals, Messier promised New York would force a seventh game. He made good on his word by posting his fourth and final playoff hat trick in a 4-2 victory.

    New York won Game 7 in double overtime to advance to the finals, which also ended with a seventh game victory.

    His second stint with the Rangers, which covered the final four seasons of his career, wasn't nearly as successful. New York failed to make the playoffs in any of the years. Messier played in the postseason during his first 13 NHL years, before New York missed in 1993.

    After leaving the Rangers following their most recent playoff appearance in 1997, Messier was out of the playoffs for the next seven years -- including three with Vancouver. That was one factor that nearly brought him back for another season.

    He leaves with 1,887 NHL regular-season points, 970 fewer than Gretzky and 37 more than Gordie Howe, who sits in third place.

    Messier always did things on his terms, and his retirement is no different. After a year off, he wasn't spurred to play again even though he is only six goals away from 700 -- a mark reached by only six players -- and 11 games short of tying Howe's record of 1,767.

    ``I never thought about any individual records,'' Messier said. ``Coming back to break any records, especially that record, wasn't all that appealing to me.''

    Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe, Messier's longtime teammate on the great Oilers teams, tried to convince him to return to his hometown for a farewell tour. But Messier really only thought of playing in New York, where he has a young family.

    ``I don't know that I ever really considered it,'' Messier said. ``I was definitely open to listening to his offers and things like that but I knew in my heart that if I was going to play it was going to be in New York.''

    Messier was showered with applause from teammates, family, friends, fans and even the Buffalo Sabres when he skated off the ice for what turned out to be his final game 18 months ago, a 4-3 loss at Madison Square Garden.

    Messier and Gretzky have always been linked, whether on the ice or in the record book. Messier scored 109 playoff goals, 13 fewer than Gretzky, and set up 186 others -- 74 fewer than Gretzky, now the Phoenix Coyotes coach.

    But the second partnership lasted just one year as Messier left the Rangers for Vancouver as a free agent following a surprising run with Gretzky to the Eastern Conference finals.

    When Sather took over as Rangers GM in 2000 he brought Messier back. Messier scored his final goal in his final game, No. 698 with the Rangers.

    The inability to rekindle success in New York and the departure of close friend Brian Leetch, who was traded to Toronto as part of the Rangers' salary dump of 2004, surely pushed Messier to his final goodbye to Broadway.

  • #2

    Official Lounge sponsor of Chris Pronger & Alex Pietrangelo


    • #3

      Fuck me.



      • #4
        Another one bites the dust...
        Official Lounge Sponsor of:
        Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day


        • #5
          I thought this was an OnIoN piece.
          His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
          Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr


          • #6
            I read somewhere else that he had retired.
            No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true
            President George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

            I'm a war president
            President George W. Bush, February 8, 2004