Messier says he'll talk to Sather about future GM role

Mark Messier is eyeing a return to the NHL ... as a GM.

According to a report in Monday's Toronto Sun, the future Hall of Famer said he plans to talk to current Rangers GM Glen Sather about taking over the post when Sather decides to move on.

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"I'm going to have discussions with Glen," Messier told The Sun. "I don't know how long Glen is going to keep doing it. Maybe he'll continue for another five or 10 years.

"I just know New York fits best for me and my family. And this is what I know best and what I love the most," he said.

Messier said he plans to move back to New York and make it his family's primary residence. He plans on talking to Sather about his future after Messier's banner-raising in Edmonton on Feb. 27.

Messier's father, Doug, said the six-time Cup winner has a plan.

"He's not moving back just to go to nightclubs," Doug Messier said. "He must know something."

Sather didn't deny that Mark Messier could do the job.

"He probably could," Sather told the Sun. "We'd have to sit down and figure out a lot of details. The first thing would be to be sure it's what he really wants to do because it's not something you can work at part time. I talked to him previously, just last spring, and he wasn't sure.

"I'm glad he's interested," Sather added. "He has been able to accomplish everything he set his mind to at this stage in his life. Most guys who have stepped in as a general manager have worked to get a little background, either in coaching or working under others in an organization. I think there are necessary steps to take."

However, Sather said Tuesday that he is not ready to surrender his job to Messier, who caught many in the Rangers' organization off-guard with his comments Monday. Sather had given no indication he was ready to leave.

"Who knows in sports business, but I don't have any plans to do anything immediately," Sather said Tuesday before the Rangers played the Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena. "I understand that Mark can make a comment basically about anything he wants to do in his future, but anything that we're going to talk about between each other is going to stay with us, at least it'll stay on my side."

Sather said he has not specifically talked about the general manager's job with Messier. He refused to comment on whether Messier deserved the job more than Don Maloney, who has been his assistant for the past six years.

"First of all I don't think a position like that is something anyone would discuss in the newspaper," Sather said. "The policy the [Madison Square] Garden has had all the time I've been here is we don't discuss these things publicly."

Former Rangers and Edmonton Oilers teammate Jeff Beukeboom also said he could see Messier in a GM role.

"It wouldn't surprise me. It would be hard not to give it to him, too," Beukeboom told The Sun.

Beukeboom added that Messier on the job would bring on "extreme pressure, which he would relish."

Messier is widely regarded as one of the sport's all-time greatest leaders. He retired last September after 25 NHL seasons but all but said goodbye on March 31, 2004, following the Rangers' final home game before the lockout that wiped out all of the 2004-05 season.

Under Sather as coach, Messier teamed with Wayne Gretzky to win four championships in Edmonton during the 1980s and then won another in 1990 after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles.

He trails only Gretzky in playoff goals and assists, but he topped the Great One by adding one postseason guarantee that took him to heightened status in Manhattan.

With the Rangers trailing New Jersey 3-2 in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals, Messier promised New York would force a seventh game. He made good on his word by posting his fourth and final playoff hat trick in a 4-2 victory.

New York won Game 7 in double overtime to advance to the finals, which also ended with a seventh game victory.

His second stint with the Rangers, which covered the final four seasons of his career, wasn't nearly as successful. New York failed to make the playoffs in any of the years. Messier played in the postseason during his first 13 NHL years, before New York missed in 1993.

After leaving the Rangers following their most recent playoff appearance in 1997, Messier was out of the playoffs for the next seven years -- including three with Vancouver.

He leaves with 1,887 NHL regular-season points, 970 fewer than Gretzky and 37 more than Gordie Howe, who sits in third place.

Messier and Gretzky have always been linked, whether on the ice or in the record book. Messier scored 109 playoff goals, 13 fewer than Gretzky, and set up 186 others -- 74 fewer than Gretzky, now the Phoenix Coyotes coach.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.