Report: If Rangers hire Messier, Leetch would join coaching staff


If the Rangers decide to reach back into their history and hire Mark Messier as head coach, his staff will also harken back to the golden years.

According to a source of the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, legendary Blueshirts defenseman Brian Leetch is set to join the coaching staff should Messier get the gig.

Leetch, 45, teamed with Messier to win the last Stanley Cup in Rangers history, in 1994. The American blueliner captured the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP that year and had his No. 2 raised to the MSG rafters in 2008.

Here’s more on the coaching situation, from Brooks:

Sources from the Boston area where Brian Leetch makes his home told The Post the Hall of Fame defenseman would likely join the Rangers’ coaching staff as an assistant if Messier is hired.

The Blueshirts would need to hire a technocrat with meaningful NHL coaching experience to complement Messier and Leetch should Sather opt to go in that direction, one that would seem a far riskier one than hiring [former Canucks head coach Alain] Vigneault.

The major issue with the hires is coaching experience.

Messier doesn’t have much — he was behind the bench for Team Canada’s entries in the 2010 Spengler and Deutschland Cup — and Leetch has even less.

He’s done some TV work with MSG and, even though Brooks championed Leetch as the “perfect guy” to coach the Rangers’ PP in 2012, his only post-retirement coaching duties have been with his kids’ teams.

That said, he did express an interest in getting back into the NHL (from a 2010 interview with the New York Times):

LEETCH: At some point, I would like to get back involved in hockey. I would be interested in just about every aspect within an organization — coaching, management, player development — if the situation was right.

By that I mean, if I felt like I was working again within a team atmosphere, where our goals were the same and our beliefs in how to achieve them were similar.

It’s believed Vigneault is the front-runner for the Rangers’ job, after he reportedly “impressed” Rangers GM Glen Sather during his interview.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?