Rangers legend Mark Messier, who currently serves as Special Assistant to President and General Manager Glen Sather, got his second taste of coaching on the interational hockey scene this past week, guiding Team Canada to a runner-up finish at the prestigious Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland.
|Mark Messier continued his association with Team Canada by coaching at two tournaments in 2010. |
Messier's Team Canada squad, made up primarily of former NHL players competing in Switzerland's top league, as well a handful of players from other North American and European teams, fell 4-3 to SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL in Friday's New Year's Eve championship game.
Former NHL stars Alexei Yashin and Maxim Afinogenov each scored one of St. Petersburg's goals, while former Minnesota Wild player Maxim Sushinski scored twice and added an assist on Yashin's goal.
Micki Dupont, Brett McLean and Josh Holden scored for Team Canada in its loss. Dupont's goal had tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, but the Canadians never led after Yashin broke the tie roughly four minutes later. Holden closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal.
Team Canada finished 3-2-0 in its five Spengler Cup games, opening the tournament with a 6-1 win over Moscow Spartak before dropping into a play-in round with a 3-2 loss to tournament host HC Davos.
Messier's squad caught fire in its third game, holding off Prague Sparta of the Czech Extraliga for a 4-3 victory on an overtime goal by Dupont. That win lifted the Canadians into the semifinals on Thursday, and they took revenge on Davos with a 4-0 rout behind goals from Holden, Mark Bell, J.P Vigier, and Pascal Pelletier.
Dupont, who plays for Kloten of the Swiss league, ended the tournament as Canada's top scorer with three goals and two assists. Also gaining five points for Canada were McLean and former NHL regular Glen Metropolit, who now plays in Zug, Switzerland. Both McLean and Metropolit had a goal and four assists.
The second-place finish marked the eighth time that Team Canada has been runner-up since joining the tournament in 1984. The Canadians have won the Spengler Cup 11 times, with the last victory coming in 2007.
In November, Messier also served as head coach of Team Canada at the 2010 Deutschland Cup tournament in Germany. Last spring, Messier was general manager of the Canadian World Championship team.