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Messier says he's interviewed to be Rangers coach

by Dan Rosen /

CHICAGO -- Mark Messier has had a formal interview to be the new coach of the New York Rangers, but he would not elaborate on any details or the timing of when the club could potentially name him or someone else as the full-time replacement for John Tortorella.

"Yes, of course," Messier told when asked Friday at United Center if he formally interviewed with Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather. "That was one thing I wanted to have happen, to go through the process like everybody else and to experience that, and to give Glen the opportunity to make a decision that he feels comfortable with."

It was the first time Messier publicly expressed interest in the position. Messier, who serves as the Rangers' special assistant to the general manager and president, confirmed earlier reports that he expressed interest in being Rangers coach before interviewing for the job.

"We had our scouts meetings and I've had conversations with Glen, and like anybody that would be interested in coaching, obviously the Rangers would be a dream come true for a lot of coaches," Messier said. "I told Glen I would have interest, so we've had discussions and that's where it stands right now.

"Glen has interviewed many candidates and I'm one of those guys. Other than that I'm not going to speculate on what-ifs and things like that, it's just too premature."

Messier is a Hall of Fame player with his No. 11 retired by the Edmonton Oilers and New York, but he has never coached behind the bench in the NHL. His coaching resume is limited to two international tournaments in 2010 with Hockey Canada (Deutschland Cup, Spengler Cup).

Canada finished third in the Deutschland Cup and second in the Spengler Cup.

Messier would not go into details on why he is interested in coaching the Rangers.

"I'm not going to get into those kinds of specifics right now," he said. "It's way too premature. All I can say is I have interest in the job. I've had an interview with Glen and we'll see what happens."

The Rangers also reportedly interviewed former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. TSN and the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Sather has been granted permission from the Los Angeles Kings to interview John Stevens, an assistant coach on Darryl Sutter's staff.

Sather said previously he would prefer to have a new coach in place by the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30.

Messier is in attendance at the Stanley Cup Final to announce the winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. It was won by Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson; Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews were the other finalists.


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