The Rangers need to replace assistant general manager Don Maloney, who left the organization Tuesday to become the GM of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Messier had already expressed interest about possibly replacing New York general manager Glen Sather once the architect of the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty of the 1980s and ’90s decides to give up his current post.
“Until two days ago, there was no opening. So it’s kind of hard to talk about,” Messier said Wednesday during an interview with The Associated Press. “The Rangers have been a big part of my life for all the obvious reasons.
“It’s kind of where I’ve decided to live, and all that kind of stuff, so it’s obviously something that is very attractive.”
Messier, a guest analyst for Versus’ coverage of the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, had two stints with New York. He captained the 1994 Rangers to the team’s first Stanley Cup title in 54 years, and his No. 11 hangs from the rafters of Madison Square Garden.
He had plans to head to La Quinta on Tuesday to play golf with Sather, who served as coach and GM when Messier won five championships in Edmonton, but decided to cancel the trip once Maloney took the job with the Coyotes.
“When all this broke, I thought, ‘You know what? It’s better for me to not go out there since everyone will assume that’s what I’m going there for,”‘ Messier said. “I don’t know what the time requirements are for that job to be filled. I haven’t talked to anybody about it.”
Messier has two young children and isn’t sure exactly what direction he wants to go professionally.
His involvement in a leadership camp got him connected to Versus and led to his television stint. He has enjoyed the experience of being on the opposite side of the camera instead of facing a hoard of reporters at his locker, but doesn’t see this as a future career.
“I look at it as a way to promote the game,” he said. “I don’t really look at it other than trying to help out the game that obviously meant a lot to me in many ways.”
And Messier is confident in his knowledge of hockey that he isn’t concerned about his ability to do any job. He hasn’t worked as a professional coach or GM since retiring from the NHL after the lockout in 2005.
Maloney’s departure hasn’t sped up his desire to get back into the game, either.
“It doesn’t really change where I’m at as far as trying to decide what I want to do,” the 46-year-old Messier said. “It’s always been something that I hoped was going to happen at some point. I don’t know what the timing is of it, but this hasn’t really changed that feeling right now.”
That doesn’t mean that wouldn’t change if Sather or Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan came to talk to him.
“I would really have to sit down and look at it because it’s pretty quick from what I was really kind of thinking about,” he said. “It’s a tremendous demand and time requirements for that job. It’s a lot of travel. With a young family and all that, I’d really have to think about it.
“Right now, I haven’t been approached.”
Messier happily signed autographs and posed for pictures in the hotel lobby with excited hockey fans who never expected to see him in the area around Disneyland. Although it’s not the same as playing in the final, Messier said he was soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying being around the game again.
“This obviously brings back a lot of memories,” he said, “not enough to wish I was out playing.”