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Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky said to want Rangers' coaching job

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) Photo Credit: AP

Mark Messier apparently is intrigued by the possibility of coaching the Rangers, according to reports out of Canada.

Nick Kypreos, a former teammate of Messier's in 1994, and John Shannon, both of SportsNet, reported Friday night that the former Rangers captain, who has served as Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather's special assistant for four years, has expressed interest in the vacancy created by John Tortorella's firing.

Kypreos also said Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, who coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four years, is interested in the job.

The Rangers "aren't commenting on the search," a team spokesman said, and Messier did not return a call and email.

It comes down to Sather. He could stay within the organization with Messier, who has turned down coaching offers in the past, or go outside for a fresh start.

If it's experience that Sather wants, especially to lead a team that is far from rebuilding and considered a Stanley Cup contender, several candidates are on the market.

Alain Vigneault, 52, a Quebec City native, took the Canucks to two Western Conference championships and a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. Vigneault, who was fired last month, has received permission to talk with the Rangers, TSN reported. So has Dallas Eakins, the well-regarded coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies and a defenseman who played seven games in 1997 with Messier, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves with the Rangers.

Lindy Ruff, a former teammate of Rangers assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld, coached the Sabres for 15 years and has spoken to the Stars about their vacancy. He is said to want the Rangers' job.

Dave Tippett is under contract with Phoenix until June 30, although the Rangers are believed to have made inquiries. The Coyotes' ownership situation remains unsettled, and Tippett, a former Kings and Stars coach, is said to want assurances of more stability.

Callahan, Hagelin surgeries. Two of the top Rangers forwards, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, each had surgery to repair a torn left shoulder labrum. They are expected to be out at least four months.

The estimated recovery time from the procedures, performed Friday in New York, would mean missing training camp and possibly the start of the 2013-14 season.

It is unclear when the injuries occurred. Callahan had two goals and five points in 12 playoff games and Hagelin had three goals and three assists.

During the season, Callahan led the team in hits with 154, topped NHL forwards in blocked shots (66) and had 16 goals and 31 points in 45 games. He finished with 16 points in the final 14 games as the Rangers made a frantic push to reach the playoffs.

Hagelin, who played in all 48 games and had 10 goals and 24 points, is a restricted free agent but is expected to be re-signed.

Defenseman inked. Samuel Noreau, 20, a 6-5 defenseman who was a fifth-round draft pick in 2011, agreed to a contract.

The Dolan family owns

controlling interests in the

Rangers, Madison Square

Garden and Cablevision.

Cablevision owns Newsday.


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