Mark Messier had formal interview to coach Rangers

Former Rangers captain Mark Messier, right, reacts during

Former Rangers captain Mark Messier, right, reacts during a pre-game ceremony to retire his No. 11. (Jan. 12, 2006) (Credit: AP)

Hall of Famer Mark Messier told reporters at the Stanley Cup Finals in Chicago Friday that he has had formal interviews in his bid to become the next Rangers coach.

"That was one thing I wanted to have happen, to go through the process like everybody else and to experience that, and to give Glen [Sather] the opportunity to make a decision that he feels comfortable with," Messier told NHL.com.

Messier, 52, played 10 seasons for the Rangers, including leading the franchise to a Stanley Cup title in 1994, and had his No. 11 retired by the team in 2006. Messier has been a special assistant to Sather, the team's president and general manager, for four years.

"We had our scouts meetings and I've had conversations with Glen, and like anybody that would be interested in coaching, obviously the Rangers would be a dream come true for a lot of coaches," said Messier, who has no NHL coaching experience but coached Team Canada in two international tournaments in 2010. "I told Glen I would have interest, so we've had discussions and that's where it stands right now.

"Glen has interviewed many candidates and I'm one of those guys. Other than that, I'm not going to speculate on what-ifs and things like that, it's just too premature."

Sather said during a conference call after John Tortorella was fired May 29 that he hoped the coaching search would conclude before the June 30 draft, but gave no firm deadline.

Alain Vigneault, the former Canucks coach, interviewed this week and Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens has received permission from the Kings to talk with the Rangers.

Tortorella was fired after the Rangers finished 26-18-4 this season and lost to the Bruins in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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