Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Don’t Call Us…

7

Larry Brooks spends most of his column this morning to promoting Mark Messier’s hockey management ambitions:

Coming up on five years after he played his last game, Messier is on the outside looking in while contemporaries such as Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Al MacInnis and Ron Francis are making their marks in organizations around the league…

Understand. Messier is not campaigning for anyone’s job. He is not suggesting he should be the next GM. He is not suggesting he should be the next head coach. He is, however, suggesting he’s ready to get to work, and certainly would prefer to get to work for the Rangers.

“It’s hard to say what I would or would not do; to me, it’s a matter of finding the best way for me to contribute,” Messier said. “In the past, I’ve talked about what my wish list might be in establishing a vision for a franchise, but it’s a completely different discussion now that I’m ready to jump into the fray.”

This is no surprise to Glen Sather, for Slap Shots has learned the GM and Messier had a lengthy discussion on the topic last June in Ottawa before the Entry Draft. There’s been no job offer since.

I don’t think there is a hockey person in North America who is unaware of the Messier ambitions. That he has not received a job offer – even from the Rangers – after nearly five years probably says that nobody thinks much of Messier’s qualifications or potential. This may come as a surprise to Mark – and to Larry Brooks – but nobody owes him a job in hockey. I can’t see how giving Brooks a few quotes will change that.

I think it makes Messier look more than a little desperate. And it makes it less likely that the phone will ring.

Postscript: Brooks also drops in a tidbit from Bill Daly about the Phoenix Coyotes, “The Club has agreed to consult with us in connection with all significant financial transactions, including those relating to players.”

The league has now admitted that it is looking for new investors, that it is advancing the team money, and with this note, that it is afraid the team might need more cash than it can expect from central revenues if spending goes up. If there is one team Bettman is desperately hoping into the playoffs…

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Comments

7 Responses to “Don’t Call Us…”
  1. Dennis_Prouse says:

    Messier strikes me as being an awful lot like Brett Hull. Hull went straight into the GM’s suite last Fall, but it has now been widely reported that Brett isn’t really a big fan of making scouting trips to places like Des Moines or Saskatoon. If Sather thought for a second that Messier was prepared to do the grunt work and put in the hours needed to learn the ropes, he would hire him, but Sather knows that what Messier really wants is a great title and to be able to throw his weight around the executive suites. Contrast this to guys like Yzerman and Nieuwendyk, who very openly acknowledged that they needed to gain some experience first.

    As for the Coyotes, it is now painfully clear that the League is effectively running the franchise. The owner is there in name only until such time as the NHL can find someone new to pay the bills. I am shocked that this hasn’t gotten more play in the hockey media.

  2. Magicpie says:

    Mark Messier eats babies.

  3. ColinM says:

    I think Dennis is right about Messier. Lesser hockey people have found their way AHL/Major Junior coaching staffs so I don’t see why Messier couldn’t step into either situation.

    You’d think someone with Messier’s level of cash would be happy to pull a Patrick Roy and buy a Major Junior team and run it himself for a while for the experience.

  4. Tom says:

    As for the Coyotes, it is now painfully clear that the League is effectively running the franchise. The owner is there in name only until such time as the NHL can find someone new to pay the bills. I am shocked that this hasn’t gotten more play in the hockey media.

    I agree, although “effectively running the franchise” may be strong. It is clear that Moyes either can’t or won’t put in more money, the team can’t borrow any more, and absent league advances – perhaps even with them – the Coyotes wouldn’t make it through the year.

    It will be really interesting if Phoenix is in a playoff spot but isn’t buying at the deadline.

    I think the NHL will have lots of problems finding someone new to pay the bills.

  5. Dennis_Prouse says:

    The league isn’t running it day to day, but remember the golden rule – he who has the gold makes the rules. If the League is supplying the cash, then they ultimately determine the club’s direction.

    The trick Bettman needs to pull off here is to unload, err, I mean sell the franchise while maintaining the illusion of franchise value. He will desperately try to avoid the bankruptcy scenario where a buyer can come in and scoop up the franchise for a pittance. Rather, he will try to facilitate a quiet private “sale” where no dollar figures are announced to the public. That will be tough, as a formal bankruptcy is the only way to break the lease and force the city to give a sweetened deal to the team or, alternately, allow them to move.

  6. Gerald says:

    Dennis, barring Moyes himself going into personal bankruptcy, which no one has any reason to believe is forthcoming, I would expect that bankruptcy is highly unlikely. I would expect that the city received a personal guarantee from Moyes at the time that the arena was constructed/leased. As such, bankruptcy of the team is no solution at all, unless Moyes himself is prepared to live out of a cardboard box for the foreseeable future.

    Nothing has indicated that Moyes is not putting more money into the team. The team simply requested and obtained an advance on funds. It is perfectly normal for the league to receive consultative rights in regards to how the team is going to spend money, particularly as it pertains to any payroll increases.

  7. Tom says:

    Nothing has indicated that Moyes is not putting more money into the team.

    I don’t think this is true. At the very least, he is not putting in enough money. That is why there is a search for new investors and it is the reason the Coyotes needed an advance. The fact his business is known to be troubled makes this a very reasonable inference. It may not prove Moyes has bailed on more losses, but it is not nothing.

    The team simply requested and obtained an advance on funds.

    I don’t think it is simple. It has happened before – Ottawa for sure when they missed a payroll, and I think Buffalo did too in the middle of the Adelphia mess – but the precedents aren’t positive ones.

    This is a team that was obviously in trouble before the economy cratered and it is loaded with debt during a credit crunch.

    Unless the team can find new investors, it is going to fail.

    It is perfectly normal for the league to receive consultative rights in regards to how the team is going to spend money, particularly as it pertains to any payroll increases.

    I don’t think this is a “meaningless because it is normal” thing. Why would the league need this if the Coyotes wanted – and got – $5 MM to get through the year? They wouldn’t insist on consultative rights. The Coyotes could get advances of another $10 MM (at least) before the league had any real economic stake. What this (and the fact the request has been made so early in the season) tells me that the Coyotes are going to need an advance of almost all of their share of centralized revenues.

    There is nothing normal about a league exercising any control over the spending of one of the franchises.

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