by Sam RosenMark Messier
has decided to undergo surgery to repair his aching left shoulder, and the Rangers are definitely going to miss him. Whether he is on or off the ice, it's his presence that makes the difference.
He's the type of guy teammates can always lean on just by knowing he's around. Mark wants so badly for the team to win that even when he is out of the lineup, he supplies his input for the good of the team.
Messier is expected to be out for approximately eight weeks, so the Rangers will have to go fairly deep into the playoffs if they expect him to see action again this season. But he has wrestled with this decision for a while, trying both rest and rehab and playing through it. Mark hasn't made enough progress and decided to get the surgery done so he can have full strength and range of motion to play the game the way he can. Messier needs strength, and he hasn't had it in that shoulder for a couple of months now, which makes the surgery a must.
As far as his career his concerned, Mark is healthy otherwise; he's just having some bone spurs cleaned up. Once he is free of pain and the motion returns, he should be fine. There is no reason to think Messier couldn't play at a high level next season.
People always wonder about hockey players once they reach 40. Mark is 41, but he still skates well and his legs have not gone. His desire and passion for the game have not diminished, and there's no reason to think he can't come back and be a productive player. Quite honestly, when I look around the league, there aren't enough good players like Mark. Sam Rosen has served as the Rangers play-by-play voice on MSG Network since 1984-85.