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Messier Conference Call Transcript

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Following the announcement of Mark Messier's contract agreement with the Rangers, Messier and President and GM Glen Sather spoke with the media.

“I didn’t think it (the contract negotiation) was ever going to be a distraction. I’ve pretty much been away all summer so we really didn’t start negotiating until the middle of August and these things take time. I knew it would get done.”

“I don’t think there’s any right way to end a career. Even going out by winning the Stanley Cup, you’d just want to go back and try to win it again. I gave myself an August deadline to make a decision. I wanted to play. Feeling better physically was a big part of that.”

“I would like to play two more years, but I’ve always said it would be a year-to-year decision anyway. I believe this contract worked out well from both sides.”

“The moves this summer had a part in this decision, for sure. It’s been a tough go the last few seasons not making the playoffs. I wasn’t really expecting to be in that type of position that we’ve been in. But in order to make the playoffs, you have to have a solid team over an 82-game schedule. The moves over the summer have put us in that position. We’re now in a better situation to compete as a team, have fun and enjoy the game.”

“Every player in team professional sports must find a niche where he can best help the club. I still have to find a way to help to help the team the best way possible. Going in, I’m going to have to earn my ice time. I’ll be happy with any position that I’m put in. I’ve always believed that personal sacrifices must be made for the best of the team.”

“I’m really excited about all of the changes that we’ve made this summer. This coaching staff has a tremendous amount of hockey experience – both as players and as coaches. Bryan Trottier , in his day as a player, was one of the most respected guys in the NHL, both on and off the ice. He has always had a tremendous work ethic and has been tutored under some of the top coaches in hockey. It will be a big challenge for him in New York, but this team has lots of experience.”

“I never had any worry that this negotiation would drag into training camp. Mark has been out skating with a group of players in Westchester the last few days and I had a feeling all along that we’d get something done.”

“Mark’s the ultimate leader in sports today. He has built his reputation on leadership and will bring whatever the coaching staff asks him to bring to the table. He’s in tip-top shape and I expect him to have a great year.”

“We’re very strong down the middle with Mark in the line-up. We’re a much deeper, stronger and better team than a year ago. I’m happy with the way things have worked out.”

“We haven’t made the playoffs in five seasons and mark really wants to help get this team back to respectability. He takes great care of himself and is in fine shape. He’s a superior athlete."
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