It comes as no surprise that the Rangers are not denying reports that 15-time All-Star Mark Messier will retire today. I think we all knew that the lockout would end his brilliant 25-year career.
Messier is one of those guys you have to love, regardless of your team affiliation. A paragon of class, Messier will also be remembered as one of the game's best scorers. His points total of 1887 is second only to the astonishing 2857 by #99. In addition, he was an iron horse, appearing in 1756 NHL games, second only to #9's 1767.
His name appears on the Cup SIX TIMES, and he's the only guy to captain two different teams(Edmonton and the Rangers) to Stanley Cup victories.
I had the pleasure of getting to see him play against the Canes a few times, and I specifically remember the New Year's Eve game on December 31, 2002, in which he scored a nifty goal. We had just begun a catastrophic tailspin in which we won only four games in a 30 game span.
I don't think it's as if Ron Francis is sitting around waiting to see what everyone else does. He will play if he feels like he can be productive and enjoy it. My opinion is that the Messier retirement, which became official as I was writing this, will probably contribute to his decision making. Couple that with the opening of camp. I would be VERY surprised if he plays this season. As of right now, he doesn't have a contract, and the Leafs aren't really in a position to offer him one. IF he plays, the only teams I would feel okay with would be the Pens and the Canes. For obvious reasons. I imagine we'll hear an announcement today or tomorrow.
5 years ago