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Messier's fit behind Rangers' bench

Updated: June 3, 2013, 10:20 PM ET
By Craig Custance

It doesn't happen too often because they both have very full travel schedules, but when Mark Messier and Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark watch a hockey game together, one thing jumps out at Clark.

Messier's emotion.

Whether it's watching a prospect or a Rangers playoff game, Messier is into it.

"He's a very engaging guy. He's still, very emotionally into the games," Clark said when we chatted on Friday as news emerged of Messier's interest in the Rangers' coaching vacancy. "Whenever I do get a chance to sit with him, it's interesting what comes out of it."

And his name in the mix has made the Rangers' opening that much more interesting. Over the weekend, colleague Katie Strang reported that Messier is expected to compete for the Rangers' coach opening after consulting with his family.

He's currently the special assistant to team president Glen Sather and often mentioned as the heir apparent to Sather when he retires, although assistant GM Jeff Gorton has done outstanding work in his position, making him another logical option as the future Rangers GM.

But right now, the opening is at head coach. Lindy Ruff, Dallas Eakins and Alain Vigneault are all in the mix for the job, and it's a little easier to analyze how each one of them would fit behind the bench. How their style might compare and contrast with the ousted John Tortorella.

Considering Messier has no NHL coaching experience, it's hard to say exactly if his preferred style of play or system would fit the personnel. Did he like the way the Rangers played under Tortorella? Did he want them to play more like the teams he once played for and won championships with? What system would he implement?

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