Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mark Messier Retires

“The Captain”, Mark Messier announced his retirement earlier this week closing the book on an incredible Hall of Fame career that included six Stanley Cup titles and two NHL Most Valuable Player Awards.

It was time to hang up his skates and he did. #11 was one of the best leaders in sports history and he played at the highest levels leading his teams to the pinnacle of success so often.

Messier led his teams, the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers, to the playoffs in 17 of his first 18 NHL seasons. His early years were so great and his Oilers team won so much. I remember as a youngster watching him play when he first came to Madison Square Garden – he was the Magic Johnson or Joe Montana of the NHL…pure excitement and nothing but success.

Messier teamed with “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr and others to win four championships in Edmonton. After Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles Messier led the Oilers to another Stanley Cup Trophy in 1990 without him.

In 1994, his third season with the New York Rangers, he led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Title in 54 years - helping to end more than five decades of misery. Before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals that year against the New Jersey Devils and the Rangers trailing the series 3-2 Messier boldly stated, “We Will Win Tonight.” Sure enough, in classic Messier fashion the Rangers won 4-2 with “The Captain” netting a hat-trick.

After a run to the Eastern Conference finals with the Rangers and Gretzky (he persuaded ‘The Great One’ to join him in NY) in 1997 he left to try to revitalize the Vancouver Canucks. It never panned out and in 2000 he returned to New York to finish his Hall of Fame career. The 16-time All-Star is the only player to captain two teams to Stanley Cup Championships.

The Captain is all over the NHL record book…He’s 7th All-Tim in goals with 694. He has 1,193 assists which place him third all-time, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Ron Francis. He’s 2nd in career points with 1,887 points, only Gretzky has more. Only Goalie Patrick Roy played in more postseason games. Messier had 236 appearances in the postseason — which featured 109 goals and 295 points. He trails only Gretzky in playoff goals and assists, but topped The Great One by winning two more Stanley Cup Trophies and an unforgettable postseason guarantee that took him to beloved status in New York and forever in NHL history.

Nothing ever seemed to bother Messier. While The Great One got all the print and coverage during the Oiler’s heyday, Messier was the unquestioned heart and soul of that dynasty. If he felt like somebody was playing dirty, he fought them. If his team needed a great pass he’d make it. If they trailed and needed a big goal, he’d score. His defense and special teams was some of the best in Hockey history.

If you look up the word ‘Champion’ in the dictionary, it would be hard to not see a picture of Mark Messier.

I loved watching his intensity and loved how he was always in the right place at the right time – you can’t teach those skills, only few are born with them. Mark Messier was a true great.

Thanks were and always will be "The Captain".

"He was the best player I ever played with, and it was a pleasure to play with him each and every day." –Wayne Gretzky


At 9/16/2005 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First thing Friday, 9/16
Mayor Villaraigosa confirms that, yes, his family will be moving to Getty House, at least part-time. A day earlier, he was still being cagey .
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
I have a commercial credit report blog. It pretty much covers commercial credit report related stuff.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)

At 9/16/2005 1:52 PM, Anonymous huckleberry finn said...

Schmidty, what's with you get spammed on your blogsite dog? Funny stuff. Anyway, I'm not much of a hockey fan but I can appreciate the sport and what Messier did for the New York region when we were in high school. I know you loved the guy because you always talked him up so much.

At 9/20/2005 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

spam bloggers suck, blogspit shall deny them traffic. comm credit report !?!??! LOL: "I have a commercial credit report blog. It pretty much covers commercial credit report related stuff." You don't say?!?! a comm credit report blog that "pretty much covers comm credit report related stuff."!?!?!?!? interesting.... IF YOUR NAME IS ALLEN GREENSPAN!!


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