It has been a number of years since Mark Messier strapped on that helmet, laced up his skates, and pulled the number eleven over his head. Now he wears a suit and tie instead of a sweater, the skates have changed into dress shoes, and even the locker has been replaced by an office where he pulls up a chair as the new assistant to Rangers’ President and General Manager GlenSather . To think these things can truly change a man though is foolish. Though a life in the administrative side of hockey sometimes calls for tough decisions that effect the lives of players, those same kids, as most of them these days are decades younger than the six-time Stanley Cup Champion, are the ones that Messier is looking to reach out to the most.
After months of speculation the Flyers have pulled a dramatic upset to win the away team bid for the 2010 Winter Classic over the Washington Capitals. It couldn’t have happened though without quite a bit of help. In this storyBettman’s plans to have Ovechkin on the biggest hockey stage of the modern NHL outside of the Stanley Cup Finals were foiled by NBC is spectacular deus ex machina fashion. The Flyers on the other hand, who were holding out to host their own Winter Classic in the near future, got to have their cake and eat it too thanks to the push for higher ratings.