Question: Did you think in your mind that this is it?
Messier: Well, if I did think in my mind that this was it I would have made a lot more plans and preparations a month ago. I didn’t know completely in my heart that that was the case. I didn’t want to put myself in the situation and then come September perhaps I want to play again. I don’t know myself, but I obviously wanted my family here to see the game. They were here last year because last year going into the summer there was some uncertainty also. I guess that has been the most frustrating part over the last month.Question: On shedding a tear on the ice …
Messier: Many times I took a few gulps, but I think everybody is sick of me crying on national TV so I was trying to hold it together the best I could. There were definitely a few moments in warm-ups when I saw my whole family down there around the glass. Things like that make it tough for sure. Question: Was your family here because it was your last game?
Messier: They would have been here regardless. My family has been a big part of my career as a player and as a person. Question: Was tonight’s goal special for you?
Messier: I didn’t feel great out there because I haven’t skated much in the last 7 or 8 days. I didn’t know how I was going to feel and I felt a little sluggish on the ice. I was feeling pretty good up to last week. I just wanted to try and play hard and when you are playing with the kids you have to give them every opportunity to look as good as they can, so you have to play hard and do the best things you can on the ice. It was nice to score a goal for sure.
I said to someone else this morning that this hasn’t snuck up on me. I have been thinking about it for the last three years. I have been thinking about it for the last month. To try and fit in 25 years and all of the great moments into one night or one afternoon is a little tough. There are a lifetime of memories that has happened in the last 26 years of pro and let alone the things before that as a child growing up enabling me to become a professional hockey player.Question: Whatever happens career wise, will New York be your home?
Messier: Yes, I believe that I’ll be here in New York no matter what. I think the friends and the things that I’ve established, the charities, the Rangers, the lifestyle, everything. I’ve been a perfect fit since I’ve come here in ’91. Question: When’s the last time you spoke with Wayne (Gretzky)?
Messier: He actually called me as I came off the ice in warm-ups. I said that you still have impeccable timing. Question: Describe your emotions from 1991 to 1994 to now and what this night means to you.
Messier: I think that I will go to my grave with feelings and emotions from 1994. Not only 1994 because there were so many things that happened before 1994, so many things happened after 1994 that made me feel so much part of the history, the franchise, and the city. Coming from being born in Edmonton and winning a Stanley Cup in Edmonton and knowing what it means to the people and the relationships that athletes have to have with the people in the city and how important that is. To experience that again here in New York that’s what to me is some of the most important things into becoming a champion. For a franchise and a team becoming a champion. Holding yourself like a professional and acting like a professional on and off the ice. Question: How about the fact that the Buffalo players stayed on the ice.
Messier: I guess there’s no blueprint to something like this. I really didn’t know what to expect myself or how to react. I think it would have been a lot simpler, a lot easier if I could have just come out a month ago and said that this is my last year and this be the opportunity my last game. A lot less stressful for myself anyway from a personal standpoint. The Lester B. Pearson Award to me is one of the nicest awards I’ve ever won. You get selected by your peers as the top player in the league.