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Sather, Leetch Discuss Messier's Milestone

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Rangers President, General Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather and Blueshirt defenseman Brian Leetch react to Mark Messier's record-setting night at Madison Square Garden.



Q: What can you say about your captain?
Sather: Well, I don't think there is another adjective left to describe Mark, He has been great. To do what he has done is a testimony to the way he takes care of himself and the way he loves the game. You can't come to the rink everyday, for the amount of games he came, and play and not love the game.

Q: When did you know Mark was a great player?
Sather: He elbowed one of the Russians. I don't remember which one it was. It was the 1976 season, he moved around the guy's whole face, then they started talking about him.

Q: What did you think of him when you first drafted him?
Sather: Well, I had seen him before we drafted him. I knew who he was, I knew his background. I knew his family. He was a great skater and had terrific technique. I knew what his dad was like. He knocked me out in the first junior game I ever played. He was playing for the Edmonton Flyers. So I knew there was a lot of heritage in him.

Q: Did you ever think this would happen?
Sather: No. I don't think any of us ever did. But knowing Mark he will talk to you for about two minutes on what happened and then he will want to talk about the team and the game tonight.

Q: On Messier's skill being overshadowed ...
Sather: I don't look at it like that. I always knew he was a skilled player. He has been a great player his whole career. The skill has always been there. The thing I remember about Mark when he was playing behind Wayne was Wayne was getting a lot of points. There was a lot of night when Mark would not be interested in that. We would be winning by five or six goals and he would let somebody else do it. But if it was 2-1 or a 1-0 game he would be the guy to make a great play.



Q: How do you feel about Mark's accomplishment?
Leetch: Going into the third period I just had a feeling if we could keep a couple goals ahead or one goal ahead, I knew we'd be out there on the ice at the end. I just had a feeling he was going to be involved in another play tonight. Never mind these big games that he's always come through at, I think that anytime people have been focused on one of his milestones, goals, or assists, or points, whatever it's been, he's come up with that big game, whether it was the winning goal or a hat-trick or something, that besides being a clutch player, he's got a thing to come up for a moment and make it fun for everybody around him.

Q: Do you think of Mark as a scoring type of player?
Leetch: Mark is a complete package. Everything. It's leadership, it's playmaking, physical play. Like I said yesterday, it's relationships with his teammates, his love for the game, and all those things go into longevity and being able to have an impact on a lot of individuals and a lot of teams. The teams change a lot around Mark and he's been able to have an influence on each and every one of them.

Q: On Mark's coming to New York ...
Leetch: He came here his first year with a mission, and he talked about the Stanley Cup, and he wasn't afraid to take pressure and put things on his shoulders and obviously the fans responded to that and we were able to do some good things immediately when he got here and obviously he brought the Cup.
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