Scorched Earth Continues: Why Mark Messier as Head Coach of the Rangers Wouldn’t Be The Worst Thing In The World (But We All Know It Won’t Happen); The Real Candidates & Thoughts, Knoblauch’s Emergence, Et Tu Drury: A Montreal Offer Sheet to Alexis Lafreniere is a Real Possibility, Gallant + JD = CBJ & More

I admit it – both today’s blog header photo and headline does come off as clickbait – but to be fair – it’s not my fault that I’m not talking about the Rangers next playoff game right now! I can only work under the parameters that I’m given!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on How about that Marc Staal and those Florida Panthers?

#NOQUITINSUNRISE – you know, Sunrise, Florida – aka HOCKEYTOWN, USA!

And yep – I’m on the Panthers’ bandwagon – as I’d like to see the former #18 of the New York Rangers, a warrior for this franchise for so many years, get his just due – his name on the Stanley Cup.

For now (and perhaps for a long while ahead), the scorched earth remains on this site, as I continue to vent about the miserable finale, and the immediate aftermath that has ensued, as a result of this pissed-away 2022-23 season.

Presently, and now over 48-hours removed from the firing of Gerard Gallant (full story here: ), I’ve seen a lot of candidates in regards to who will become the next, and 37th, head coach of the New York Rangers.

Maybe it’s because my once glass half-full outlook has been completely shattered, with shattered glass all over the place and near my feet as I write these words (as you may suspect – I have no great expectations heading into the 2023-24 season) – but when I look at the dozens-and-dozens of names currently being floated around – none of them really impress me.

But again – that could be due to my own present state of jadedness!

That said, and in my eyes – 99.9% of these potential candidates being bantered about sound like lateral moves.

I just don’t see any WOW candidate – and at the end of the day – if the top stars don’t show up during the playoffs anyway, then the Rangers can go 82-0 during the 2023-24 regular season and it won’t matter.

One Cup in 83-years – and I’ll have much more about that for you in just a bit.

As far as who the next head coach will be, the names are flying in left-and-right – and from all different backgrounds.

If you believe that the Rangers are still a “WIN NOW” team (and that’s the mentality that Rangers’ general manager, Chris Drury, should have – especially with all of these veterans on NMC deals), then perhaps names like Peter Laviolette (failed in Washington), Mike Babcock (failed in Toronto) and others of this ilk make sense.

The same also applies for both Mike Sullivan (hasn’t won a playoff round in five-years) and John Tortorella (“phailing” in Philly) – but these two are presently under contract with the two Pennsylvanian teams of the league.

Heck, at this rate – I wouldn’t rule out the near 90-year-old Scotty Bowman either!

To a lesser extent, this logic of finding a veteran head coach also applies to Bruce Boudreau (failed in Vancouver) too – a man of over 1,000 NHL contests coached under his belt – but without a Stanley Cup to show for it.

Another name to add to your scorecard?

Patrick Roy, who won a Jack Adams Award during his short stay in Colorado (2014) – and who has a connection to Drury as a former teammate – and where unlike Gallant, the first coach that Drury ever hired – I do believe that at the end of the day – Drury will go with someone he personally knows, rather than an “unknown” to him.

Funny enough, Roy was who I was campaigning for in 2018, following the Rangers’ dismissal of Alain Vigneault. It feels like there is a better chance for him now than it was five-years ago – mainly due to the Drury association.

And speaking of AV – he may be the one name of the veterans who are out there that’s 100% ruled out!

In other words – don’t expect any gum chewing again anytime soon!

To continue on down the path of former Stanley Cup winning head coaches; Joel Quenneville, once assumed to be the odds-on favorite for the gig, has seemingly been ruled out – or at least by the Hall of Fame New York Post scribe, Larry Brooks.

For what it’s worth – I fully believe in what Brooks is reporting. After all, he’s the only reporter on the beat with sources – and for a long time now – he has become the team’s conduit whenever it comes to breaking big stories.

(He’s also the only reporter that James Dolan grants interviews to – and knows by name.)

If Brooks is saying that Joel Quenneville is out, then I believe him, but with one caveat attached – things can change so fast in the NHL – so what’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

(Need recent evidence? Just look at the one-year build-up prior to Patrick Kane’s arrival.)

In other words, if the Rangers are still without a head coach come July, then I think you’ll hear more about Coach Q.

As previously written on this site – I do feel that Quenneville will be reinstated this summer – during a slow news period – and when the CANCEL CULTURE CREW won’t be as active.

Currently, with many vacated jobs around the league (NYR, CBJ, CGY, WSH, ANA and up next – Toronto) – obviously – Quenneville would like to return to the NHL and get a chance to redeem himself.

I also believe there is too much smoke to the fire in regards to the rumors about Quenneville’s eventual return, rumors burning so hot, that you just can’t ignore them.

Plus, he’s served his penance – and not to go down too far on this road – but I think it’s about time that people actually look at the real criminal of this sad story – rather than focusing all of their energies on the people who didn’t have anything to do with the actual crime committed.

It just feels like the real villain of this disgusting story, Brad Aldrich, has gone to the wayside – while everyone else ever associated with the Chicago Blackhawks takes their lumps over this heinous criminal instead.

If you’re a regular reader of the New York Post, then you know that they are selling Kris Knoblauch as the next head coach of the Rangers – where some of their articles, perhaps press releases, feels as if they were written by the club themselves. Photo Credit: Hartford Wolfpack

If you’re of the opinion that a retread, a member of the “Good Old Boys” club if you will, is not the answer, then perhaps Kris Knoblauch, currently the head coach of the way-overachieving Hartford Wolfpack (just look at their roster), makes the most sense.

Of course, the Rangers haven’t promoted a head coach from within since 1973 – and Emile Francis’ promotion of Larry Popein didn’t exactly go swimmingly well during “The Pope’s” 41-games behind the bench.

And while there are some Rangers who spent some brief time – and when I say brief – I’m talking twenty games or less under Knoblauch (CZAR IGOR, Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider are the most notable) – it’s not like Knoblauch has really been in the trenches with these guys either – something that you see more times than not whenever an AHL head coach is promoted to the varsity squad.

What I think helps Knoblauch’s case the most, especially for a franchise that hasn’t done much winning with “name-brand” head coaches in recent years, are a pair of Stanley Cup winners themselves, Tampa’s Jon Cooper and Colorado’s Jared Bednar.

Both men made their bones in the AHL, and in the case of Cooper – he was promoted from within. Bednar spent time with Columbus’ AHL affiliate, prior to getting the call to replace Patrick Roy in Denver.

(While I have no clue what Drury will do; I do think that Knoblauch may have the best chance to become the guy – only because there has to be a reason why the New York Post is pumping his tires so much. And while I don’t think that his short-stays behind the bench during the COVID era is a make-or-break situation – I guess you can’t ignore the success that he had either.)

If it’s not Knoblauch, then Drury can look around the league at others with similar resumes – and whether they be AHL head coaches or NHL assistant coaches.

One name that keeps popping up is the Devils’ Andrew Brunette.

Talk about some cruel irony, and let me explain:

— Many Ranger fans still believe that Lindy Ruff was some sort of a bozo – you know – despite a hell of a resume – and who only left the club because he was offered a return behind an NHL bench as a head coach.

— Should it be Brunette, then Drury would be plucking away a Ruff assistant!

— For the “FLAT EARTH TURKERS,” fans who couldn’t wait to get Gallant to a mid-town taxi, and who continuously bring up the two 2-0 series leads that the Rangers blew under him; during Brunette’s last playoff round as a head coach, which was just last year, his team, the Florida Panthers, were swept right out of the playoffs.

— Today? While there were some variables changed (Matt Tkachuk instead of Jonathan Huberdeau being the biggest), Brunette’s former club now finds themselves just one win away from the Eastern Conference Final – after beating the best regular season team of all-time (Bruins) – and now with a chance to sweep the Leafs too.

There’s also the question about Brunette’s character, following his February DUI arrest.

But to be fair – Brunette was driving a golf cart on an isolated road – and it’s not like he was hammered behind a motor vehicle on a major highway.

Still, for a guy worth millions (he can afford an UBER – and golf cart or car – why put yourself in this position?) – this was a poor life decision – and how do you get popped for a DUI behind the wheel of a tiny golf cart?

Making matters worse was his reaction to the arrest.

For a Rangers team full of problems, I’m not so sure if Brunette is the right candidate – and I really look at Florida’s failure against Tampa from last season more than his current issues with the law.

Former Ranger Martin St. Louis has been a hit behind Montreal’s bench – his first-ever coaching job in the NHL. Photo Credit: NYR

That covers the veterans – including coaches with Stanley Cup winning experience, NHL assistants and AHL bench bosses.

The last path that Drury can go down is the “out-of-left-field” route – hiring a first-time head coach.

For Drury to do that, and as mentioned with Roy – I think it has to be someone who he knows.

Should this scenario play out (going with a first-timer) – I just can’t see Drury taking a chance on someone that he has no bond with.

One name that’s been floated around, and I can’t take this serious at all, is Steve Valiquette Sieve Vagistat.

As mentioned previously on this site, Vagistat recently did an interview with Arthur Staple, where it came off as he was politicking for the job, but in a “I’ll tell you why I should be the head coach, but I’m too modest to come out and say it” kind of a way.

For what it’s worth, Vagistat does have a relationship with Drury – and the two live nearby each other too.

But really, I can’t see this happening – at all!

I think all of this talk began with eager-eyed fans, just impressed with whoever is on television, now hoping to see the man on their screens go behind the bench.

Seriously – if Vagistat wasn’t on the M$GN today, and if anyone else who deserved the gig more than him was – and whether it be Ryan Callahan, Dominic Moore, Kevin Weekes or any other of the many members of the alumni with national television gigs today – then I think that you would have seen these same fans championing for these names too.

TV can be a drug!

But if it’s Vagistat – then I’m taking a timeout from this franchise!

Since I guess that I should bring his name up, although I’d peg his interest at anywhere from zero-to-one percent; I doubt that Henrik Lundqvist is up for consideration either.

After all, I doubt that he wants the job to begin with – as he’s already become one of the best analysts in the league.

(Plus, and as we’ll get into once we talk about Mark Messier – it’s pretty much the same situation – a Rangers’ legend with no coaching experience – and a legend that you risk fracturing a relationship with once he’s eventually fired.)

And if you’re “THE KING OF COMMENTARY,” with over $100M in career-earnings, presently a M$G staple and also collecting a cushy TV check – why give up all of that for nothing but stress and headaches?

For a guy known for his hair, and I guess I should mention his heart condition too – the rigors and daily life of an NHL head coach would gray his hair – and it wouldn’t be so kind on his heart either.

In other words – he has a perfect life right now. A head coaching job would ruin that!

But then again… a head coach gig could be the path to the only thing that eluded him during his Hall of Fame career – the Stanley Cup.

Long-term prediction?

If Lundqvist ever gets into coaching, then I see him as Benoit Allaire’s successor – but even then – all that travel and trying to teach young men what came natural to you – unless he badly wants his name on hockey’s holy grail – then I just don’t see it.

And finally, the one name that will forever be linked to this team whenever the franchise is looking for a new head coach, and as it’s been for the last ten-years, and as it will be until the day he dies – “The Messiah,” #11, Mark Messier.

As noted before on this site – the one reason why I wouldn’t mind Messier behind the bench? He wouldn’t take any shit from these crybabies, especially a player like “ATURNOVER PANARIN” – the Coach Killer who said during both the David Quinn and Gerard Gallant tenures that he doesn’t listen to his head coach and just likes to do his own thing.

Listen, I get it.

You don’t have to give me all of the usual rhetoric whenever this topic, perhaps tired at that, comes up.

Yes, I understand all of it, including, but not limited to, the following:

— He’s never coached before.

— His previous statements when championing for this job do come off as wanting the glory while also ignoring all of the work and long hours that goes into it.

— Legends and Hall of Famers usually don’t fare well as head coaches.

— 99% of all coaches are eventually fired – and you run the risk of fracturing a positive relationship.

— Sather doesn’t want it, he’s poo-pooed this idea before (2013) and he still has Dolan’s ear.

— Drury wouldn’t want it either – Messier would overshadow him.

— He’s now 62-years-old – not an ideal age for someone to receive their first head coaching job, especially for someone with no experience.

So yes – I 100% and unequivocally understand why this won’t happen.

But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to see it happen either!

Let me tell you the ways.

Since the salary cap era, the Rangers have only had one “THE BUCK STOPS HERE” head coach, John Tortorella. With a team full of FAT CATS, players who can get coaches fired – perhaps the Rangers need another tyrant behind the bench – and one who the players couldn’t push around either.

Why not Mark Messier?

(I already can feel the majority of the response, as people ignore the previous segment too – “NO YOU BOOMER!”)

After all, the Rangers have only won one Stanley Cup in the last 83-years – and he was both the catalyst and the face of that team.

I don’t think I have to give you Messier’s resume, both with the Rangers and in the NHL in general; but as the greatest captain in the history of team sports, and as one of the most respected men to ever play the game – Messier, during his time in New York – did just as much work off of the ice as he did on it.

Ironically, and just like this current crop of Rangers who have now bad-mouthed two different head coaches during their exit interviews; Messier once spearheaded Roger Neilson out of town.

Once Ron Smith finished out the disappointing 1992-93 season behind the bench; up next was Mike Keenan – and you know the rest.

“IRON MIKE,” one of the greatest taskmasters that this league has ever known, was a tough pill to swallow for many Rangers – and Messier was always the conduit between the locker room and the head coach.

And despite Keenan’s double-dipping during the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Messier held him in line – especially when Keenan decided to bench Brian Leetch. A short talk from the captain changed all that – and soon enough – Messier won his sixth Stanley Cup – while Leetch won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

All of this just goes to show you that Messier can handle management – and of course – a locker room too.

If you count Lester Patrick’s relief appearance during the 1928 Stanley Cup Final (admittedly – a huge asterisk); then 75% of all Ranger Stanley Cup victories featured a former Ranger behind the bench. The lone exception was in 1994 – and I don’t think I have to explain this point any further! Photo Credit: NHL Archives

Despite the past 83-years of Rangers’ history suggesting otherwise; I do believe that every season is independent of another.

But of course, how can you ignore the history?

Come three-years from now, when the Rangers turn 100-years-old, and assuming nothing changes – they will then have a 4% Stanley Cup winning success rate to their ledger – and where three of these victories took place during the first fourteen years of their existence!

(For more on all of this, and for detailed explanations about every piece of minutiae from Rangers’ history – check out my books – and you can buy them by clicking the links in the PLUGS segment, which are located at the end of this blog.)

Throughout Rangers’ history – the most successful head coaches (and general managers too for that matter) – have been former Rangers themselves.

(Of the 36 head coaches of franchise history – 17 of them, nearly 50%, formerly played for the Rangers – a trend that the club got away from during the modern era.)

Of course, the majority of the winning took place during the early years – and to be fair – every team in the league promoted their retired players behind their benches. It was just the way things were done.

But whether it was Stanley Cup winners like Lester Patrick and Frank Boucher, or former Rangers like Emile Francis and Fred Shero – many former Rangers had good runs behind the bench.

That said – all of these men also had coaching experience prior to their successes as a Blueshirt bench boss.

For a team stuck in a perpetual state of futility – I ask you this – can Messier be any worse than the present options?

Could he be any worse than what we’ve recently seen either?

And no matter what – I can tell you this – should it be Messier – he couldn’t be any worse than Bryan Trottier was!

Ditto Sather.

Really, what’s the worst thing that can happen? The Rangers don’t win the Stanley Cup? I think we’re all used to that by now!

And for all of the talk that Messier’s legacy and relationship could be ruined – I’m not sure if I really buy all of that either.

Other huge Hall of Fame legends, the best at what they do, tried their hand at either coaching, managing or owning a team.

For names like Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and others like them – are their legacies ruined because of their lack of success in sports during their post-playing days?

And for every name like these names – names like Larry Bird, John Elway and others come to mind too.

And of course – Frank Boucher too – but I may be dating myself with this name-drop!

I think James Dolan would be all-in for Messier – but Sather and Drury wouldn’t be – and that’s another reason why this won’t play out.

As of this writing – I don’t know if Messier is even interested in the job – and as he once was – repeatedly at that.

The years have passed – and as mentioned – he’s now 62-years-old.

But is 62-years-old as “ancient” as some make it out to be?

Furthermore, if he can bring the Rangers to their fifth Stanley Cup – then who cares how old he is?

Whenever you hear Messier speak about the Rangers, whether it be on ESPN, in his autobiography or during podcast interviews – you can still see that his heart is in it.

And that’s what this team lacks right now – HEART.

Maybe my desire to see Messier as the next head coach is not exactly all too altruistic – because as a writer, an author, someone who loves good stories and as a Rangers’ historian – Messier behind the bench would both entertain me and provide great content.

As mentioned – I know all of the reasons why it won’t happen – I’m just saying what could be worse?

It’s not like this franchise has been a bunch of world-beaters during their near century’s worth of an existence.

While I do believe (and can strongly get behind) that Kris Knoblauch perhaps deserves the job the most – because I really don’t want to see another retread (it’s the “same old script”) – I just want a new face.

However, I think the words out of that face need to have meaning and weight – and if this current core of Rangers can run out of town both a collegiate head coach (DQ) and an accomplished NHL bench boss (Gallant) – then who is to say that we’re not in this same place two-years from now, following the assumed firing of Knoblauch?

But don’t worry – it won’t be Panarin’s fault!

After all, you know what the story will be, the following:


Should Messier seek and get the gig (and again – one last time – I know it won’t happen); he, like everyone else, may find himself one day fired too.

But at least you know that he’ll challenge these guys – and won’t be pushed over either.

Put it this way: Of all the candidates that are currently being mulled over, I don’t think any of them would be able to lay the hammer like Messier could.

Panarin doesn’t want to listen to the coach? The team wants to make a 987678967896896 long-distance cross-ice passes to nowhere?

Who else could staple star players to the bench, send them a message and then rectify the errors of their ways, like Messier?

Anyone else would be doubted – and by everyone – the players, the media and the fans.

One Stanley Cup in 83-years.

If the Rangers are destined to never win again, and if the ultimate SAMMY WHAMMY of all-time is “This one will last a lifetime;” then I rather be entertained with Messier than sit through the same old act.

Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to draw from that 1994 well – especially since nothing else has worked out since what now seems as rare as Haley’s Comet – a Rangers’ Stanley Cup parade.

But don’t fret yet doubters – no matter who is named the head coach – 99% of the fan base will still want that person fired – and following the first Rangers’ preseason game loss!

Speaking of fired coaches, we do have some Gallant news.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall during a potential John Davidson and Gerard Gallant pow-wow. Photo Credit: Columbus Blue Jackets

Hours following Gallant’s termination, or should I say “mutual departure;” Aaron Portzline, the most plugged-in Columbus Blue Jackets beat reporter, brought up how a “TURK REUNION” could be on the horizon.

Following his playing days, Gallant’s first foray behind an NHL bench took place in Columbus, Ohio, as an assistant head coach (2001-2004).

“THE TURK” became the head coach of the club in January of 2004, as then general manager, Doug MacLean, who was also in the dual role as the team’s head coach, stepped away from the bench to exclusively focus on his GM duties, and in turn, then promoted Gallant.

In November of 2006 – Gallant was fired.

Once moving on, “THE TURK” spent time as an assistant with both the Islanders and the Canadiens, while also coaching in the QMJHL for three-years.

After that, you probably know the rest – the taxi cab firing in Florida, the quick termination in Vegas following the Stanley Cup Final appearance – and now, today – his departure from the Big Apple.

Portzline is reporting that Gallant still has many friends in Columbus – and how he loved the city during his time there.

What Portzline said rings true – because if you recall – whenever the Rangers played in Columbus – “THE TURK” always spoke glowingly of the city.

While I thought that Calgary would be Gallant’s most likely next destination; Portzline has me convinced.

After all – who better to hire Gallant than John Davidson – a man who was recently burnt by James Dolan, Glen Sather, and perhaps to a lesser extent, Gallant’s executioner, Chris Drury.

Even better for CBJ?

The Rangers will have to pay Gallant $7,000,000 during the next two-years – so hiring “THE TURK” will come cheap.

“TURK 2.0” in Columbus would also give one of the worst teams in the NHL a head coach that knows their Metropolitan Division inside-and-out – including the Rangers.

And maybe the clear Columbus air would help cure his sniffles too – as all the smog, dirt and foul New York air must’ve wreaked havoc on his sinuses!

Speaking of the alumni, the meat of today’s manifesto; let’s close this blog by looking at one more name – former Rangers general manager, Jeff Gorton.

If you’re Jeff Gorton, then how are you NOT going to present an offer-sheet to Alexis Lafreniere this off-season?

Similar to the Rangers’ head coaching search, where I have no clue who will receive the job – I also have no clue what the Blueshirts’ 2023-24 opening roster will be either.

While we know that all of the players with iron-laden no move clauses will be here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that CZAR IGOR and Adam Fox aren’t going anywhere either; with not much cap-space to work with (about $11M or so), and with about 7-8 roster spots presently unaccounted for – what Drury does next is anyone’s guess.

The two biggest restricted free agents on the roster are both Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller – two players who didn’t help their agents much this season – and especially not during the playoffs either.

It was also telling this season that Drury went out of his way to re-sign players such as Jimmy Vesey, Ben Harpur and Filip Chytil; while waiting for the off-season to hit before making his decisions on Lafreniere and Miller.

As of this writing, we have no clue what the negotiations are with these two players, including term (bridge or major extension) and money.

What we do know is that the Rangers don’t have much cap-space to work with, and this will be Drury’s most trying off-season yet, now in Year Three.

Talk about a perfect and opportune moment for Montreal, who has nearly four-times the amount of cap-space to work with than New York (and even more than that assuming Carey Price remains on the LTIR) – and with Canadiens’ Team President, Jeff Gorton, at the helm.

While this is purely a conspiracy theory – you would have to think that Gorton wasn’t exactly thrilled with the way that his time ended with the Rangers.

Heck – we do know that.

Following his firing, Gorton, on both national television and during podcast interviews, brought up how he had the process in motion to bring in “grit” –  but wanted to develop the younger players on the team first – and as originally intended before Dolan and Sather got impatient with what wound up being a rebuild for only three years – and perhaps less than that – following the 2019 signings of both Jacob Trouba and Artemi Panarin.

One of Gorton’s most famous quotes after being axed?

“You want to plant the seeds – but you want to be around to see the tree grow.”

He could see one of his seeds, the first-overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Alexis Lafreniere, grow – in his NHL home city of Montreal, Quebec.

Here’s where the real conspiracy comes in – does Gorton harbor any ill-will for Drury?

While Gorton has taken the diplomatic approach whenever talking about his successor, and his one-time protege at that; it’s also human nature to be absolutely pissed-off with the way that things went down – and where it was also rumored (pretty much confirmed) that Drury, Sather and Dolan were all in cahoots prior to the firings of both JD and Gorton.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

What would be a colder meal to swallow than a Montreal offer-sheet presented to Lafreniere?

Let’s face it – you were more excited and hopped-up when you saw that ping-pong ball pop-up during the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery than you currently are about Lafreniere today. Photo Credit: NBC

Let me be clear.

I’m not saying that Lafreniere is a bust, someone to give up on, or anything negative like that.

I’m just giving you all sides of a story – and what I’d think would be a smart move on behalf of the Canadiens.

I am also saying that during Lafreniere’s first three-years in the league, which to be fair, was the most unorthodox NHL entry than any other first-overall pick before him (the pandemic, having two players already above him at his left-wing position, the 2021 drama, a soon-to-be third coach in four seasons, etc), haven’t exactly gone according to plan.

While you can’t knock Lafreniere’s hustle, and his ability to fight for pucks in the “dirty areas;” at the same time, he was drafted with the hopes of becoming a high-profile scorer – and not a bottom-six mucker.

And before you blame Gallant for this – don’t forget – “THE TURK” began the season with Lafreniere on his first line – and kept him there for nearly 30% of the season. It just didn’t work out.

But if you’re Jeff Gorton and the Montreal Canadiens – now is the time to strike.

The Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, currently in their own rebuild, can add a potential star to their ranks – and for Lafreniere – the situation is much better in the land of poutine than in the streets of dirty-water dogs & Hal-Al carts.

Think about it.

In New York – Lafreniere is never going to bump Panarin and Kreider from the Rangers’ top-six. And since Lafreniere is already struggling at his position – it’s hard to see him converting into a right-winger – where the Blueshirts desperately need help.

(That’s also why I believe if it comes down to it – Kakko is safer than Lafreniere – solely because of the depth chart.)

Furthermore, with every big player and their mother signed to NMC’s – cracking into the Rangers’ PP1 unit will remain as a daily battle.

Conversely, over in Montreal, Lafreniere would have a clear-cut path as a first line left-winger – and get PP1 time too.

And while some players don’t like to play in the city that they grew up in (family and friend distractions – “Can I get a ticket?”) – Lafreniere is very close with his family – and I don’t see playing in his home province as an issue.

Lafreniere’s family has been there for him every step of the way – including his sister, his biggest advocate. Photo Credit: NBC

While I’m not wishing for this to happen – I’m not ruling it out – and in a way – I expect it to happen.

I know that offer-sheets are rare (but not as rare as the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup); but just look at the past four-years.

The Canadiens were involved in the last two offer-sheets of league history – a 2019 attempt to pry away Sebastion Aho from Carolina (the Canes matched the Habs’ five-year, $42.27M offer) and the Canes’ 2021 revenge response – when they did pluck away Jesperi Kotkaniemi (one-year, $6.1M).

And should you believe in numerology and the math – during the past four years – the Canadiens are averaging one offer-sheet battle every two off-seasons.

A 2023 offer-sheet to Lafreniere would keep that streak alive.

Perhaps giving this hypothetical even more credence, is that if Lafreniere stays – the Rangers will remain in a left-wing log-jam mess.

Not only will Lafreniere have to deal with both Panarin and Kreider – he may also have to contend with NHL rookie seasons from fellow left-wingers, Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle.

And if you’re Chris Drury, and whoever the next head coach will be for that matter – how do you dole out all of this playing time?

Either you punt on Lafreniere and hope that Othmann can turn into something, or you cross your fingers and hope that Lafreniere can turn into a stud – and at the expense of Othmann (and to a lesser extent, Cuylle).

Want more? Then try this out for size:

As of this writing, there is more organizational stability and a better environment in Montreal for Lafreniere than in New York.

There’s also a fellow Quebecois as a head coach too – one that’s already getting rave reviews from his young players, Martin St. Louis.

If you don’t know this already, then I’ll spell it out for you – Quebec is a different animal than anything in the United States. It means something to have a French-Canadian play for the Habs.

And while Lafreniere may not be thinking this way (but his agent is) – there’s also more endorsement and financial opportunities in Montreal than in New York for him.

Should he grow/develop, he arguably could become the face of the franchise – and wouldn’t that be “THE RANGERS’ WAY” too?

Hello Rick Middleton!

If you want Lafreniere to remain in New York, then you better hope that the McDonald family won’t lend the good-luck badge to Gorton again! Photo Credit: NYR

At the very least, what Montreal can do is create even more of a mess on the Rangers’ current state of cap-finances.

And maybe while Gorton isn’t as vindictive as me – this is still the right move to make for him.

Even coming in at a number as low as $4.5M would throw Drury out of whack – and where Gorton can offer significantly more than that figure.

And if you’re Lafreniere, why wouldn’t you take a high-paying deal to play in your home city, and with a better chance to succeed to boot?

All of this is a reminder of what I’ve been saying ever since the end of Game 7 – the Rangers blew one of their best chances in all of franchise history to win their fifth Stanley Cup – if not the best.

And as you’d imagine – I’m not feeling particularly great about this off-season, and going into the 2023-24 season, either.

But I shall remain loyal.

At least I’m not a Leafs fan.

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

On Sunday, May 7th, “The Blueshirt Underground Show” covered the firing of Gerard Gallant.

To watch the show, click the play button below:

The hardcover version of my first book, available now at

My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:

For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit:

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit

Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

Rangers Fire Gerard Gallant; Full Press Release & “Turk Thoughts,” Chris Drury’s First Strike with Dolan, Panarin = Coach Killer, Let the Joel Quenneville Introductory Press Conference Commence; Four Coaches in Five Years & More

RIP 2022-23 New York Rangers: Complete Exit Interviews Coverage; Player Quotes, Playoff Report Card, “Move ‘Em or Keep ‘Em,” Gallant Incensed About Rumors; Potential New HC Looming, Drury’s Decisions; Censored Turk, “Same Old Script;” What Lies Beyond, NYR Beat & More

NYR/NJD GAME 7 5/1 Review: ALL TALK IN NY! Feckless Rangers Save Their Worst For Last; Blow Their Best Opportunity to Win the Cup in all of Franchise History, What This Fatal Defeat Truly Means; Immediate Off-Season Thoughts, Panarin = Not a Playoff Player; Tarasenko Is, MIA Z. Goes Ghost Again; Time For New “A’s,” Lafreniere & Miller – And Their Replacements, Gallant’s Critical Commentary; His Status & More

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on

For more details, check out:

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey

@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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8 thoughts on “Scorched Earth Continues: Why Mark Messier as Head Coach of the Rangers Wouldn’t Be The Worst Thing In The World (But We All Know It Won’t Happen); The Real Candidates & Thoughts, Knoblauch’s Emergence, Et Tu Drury: A Montreal Offer Sheet to Alexis Lafreniere is a Real Possibility, Gallant + JD = CBJ & More

  1. I am leaning towards Knoblauch. One of those guys who worked his way up though the ranks with hard work. After seeing the flubs in Boston and now Toronto, it should be a guy who isnt afraid to fail. Paul Maurice didn’t have great success in Toronto or Winnipeg, but he is now having a career year with the Panthers. Messier has a nostalgia value, but he didnt work his way through the coaching ranks like most of the other NHL coaches.
    LaFreniere going to Montreal wouldn’t be the worst thing. LaFreiniere would be playing with a bunch of peers on an up and coming team.

  2. Good post Sean – all makes sense but personally I wouldn’t risk alienating Mess for a wild swing. Or any swing. The guy practically delivered me the one cup I may ever see. C’mon it’s freakin Mess.
    I’ll continue to believe that there would significant hesitation by Montreal to offer sheet Laf. Do they really want to make an enemy of the Rangers?Alienate a possible future trade partner? Also I believe that when you offer sheet you kind of put a target on your own back for hypocritical reasons. Is Laf worth all that? Maybe but I would at least try to make a trade with the Rangers for him first. So is the Blackhawk’s locker room really the best place for 17 year old Conner Bedard?

    1. While we know Messier won’t happen, he is older, so who knows how long he’d do the job for anyway? Maybe he would just step down. All of this is fantasy though.

      Why would Gorton care about alienating the Rangers? Plus, as mentioned, Montreal had no problems doing so with Carolina.

      The Blackhawks locker room is probably the safest in the league now, since you know they are being watched under a microscope.

  3. Lafreniere will turn into a superstar if he goes to Montreal. He could be a superstar for NYR if they ride him (e.g., 20 minutes a game) the way other teams ride their number 1 picks.

    1. He was getting that time at the start of the season…

      I think it all comes down to WIN NOW or rebuild, and they selected the former

  4. So which former Blue Jacket does a better imitation of Gene Carr in the playoffs wearing a Rangers uniform : Artemi Panarin or Rick Nash?

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