Mark Messier Retires ("Unofficially")

Mark Messier has retired from the National Hockey League.After 25 great seasons in the National Hockey League, Mark Messier has retired.

And….he retired in style. No need to mention it before his last game because he did not want the spotlight on him. No need for a press conference, because he wanted to retire as an NHL hockey player, without raising his level as equal to the Great One.

Mark Messier is a class act.

Born in January 18, 1961, the Edmonton native has proven so much in the NHL, and introduced a special kind of game. The kind of game that requires skill, toughness, leadership, and heart.

In six of his 25 seasons, Messier scored over 100 points. In seven-teen of his 25 seasons, Messier has scored 20 or more goals. He has won the Stanley Cup six times in his career. Four of those glorious Stanley Cup victories were with The Great One. When the Great One left, he still managed to lead the Edmonton Oilers in another Stanley Cup victory. He was then traded to the New York Rangers, to help them end the on going 50+ years of no Stanley Cup victory….

…and it was meant to be. In 1994, General Manager Neil Smith acquired a true all-star team that had one goal, to win the Stanley Cup with heart. Yes, the Red Wings do win the Cup with an all-star team, but the great moments of 1994….no team can match.

To beat the Devils with the famous Stephane Matteau wrap-around goal…and you hear the voice “MATTEAU! MATTEAU!” with his Overtime winner against the Devils.

And tell me, what captain has managed to pull this miracle ever since:

WE WILL WIN TONIGHT

Not only that, but what captain has made that statement, won that statement with his team, and scored a hat trick?

And later, it was Mark Messier who held the Stanley Cup as a Ranger after 54 years, and made a dream come true. Leading a pack of veterans, such as Steve Larmer, Doug Lidster, Nik Kepryos, Glenn Anderson, Esa Tikanen, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, Craig McTavish, Jeff Beukaboom, Kevin Lowe, Sergei Nemchinov, Mike Richter, Sergei Zubov, Joey Kocur, and Eddi Olczyk.

Those were the good days when players played to win with heart and pride.

Tonight, Mark Messier showed his true class again. Yes, he has failed to lead the Rangers to a playoff berth, but for a 43-year-old man to score 18 goals in today’s league, it’s more than difficult. A greatshot by Josef Balej, a rebound directed to Messier, and with his backhand shot, he lifted the puck and it hit the net.

Many fans argue he should have retired a year or two ago, but this is the player that today’s youngsters watched and got inspired by, such as Jed Ortmeyer. The 25-year-old rookie, from Nebraska, won the award as best hard working Ranger, from ex-cop Steven McDonald (a great man who was shot to the throat, and though remains paralyzed, he gives speeches, and it was an honor for me to have listened to one of his speeches at my school, and to have shook his hand). Jed Ortmeyer watched Mark Messier when growing up. And when he scored his first NHL career goal, Messier hugged him, and he quoted it as the best feeling ever.

He has changed certain players as well, such as Matt Barnaby, and Tie Domi, who both said that Messier motivated, and inspired, them to be more than just enforcers.

The fans cheered for Messier tonight. And, I am ashamed to say this, but I must be honest with all hockey fans. Some, and some is too many, New York Rangers fans have boo’d Mark Messier, begging him to leave, praying he’d leave, and showed every bit of distaste by nitpicking on the Legend, pointing out all his mistakes in every game, ignoring the good he has done, and showed complete disrespect.

I have distaste for those so called “Rangers fans”, or even “hockey fans”. I also have no respect for them. How easily do they forget, and how easily do they disrespect the player that led them to a Cup victory after 54 years. Rangesr fans should be proud to have seen Mark Messier play every single game up until this very night. Because the second best NHL player in hockey’s history, has worn a Rangers sweater with pride and success. The top two players in the NHL’s history, have played for the New York Rangers.

Shame on those “Rangers fans”, shame on them as their cheers come from a false personality. You know who you are as well, and you have shown what you are.

I am proud to be a Rangers fan. I have watched a legend play for my favorite team, raise the Cup…make miracles, and proved that even at age 43, he still shows class…fancy plays, fancy soft handed goals, the strength that intimidates players (hehe Jason Blake), and the good ole` nasty Messier attitude…”you hit me, I will hurt you”.

Thank you Mark Messier for being a great player, and a one of a kind, in the NHL for 25 years!

Micki Peroni
HTR.com


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