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

19 Comments

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.