Messier's GM comments surprise Rangers' Sather

Updated: February 7, 2007, 9:18 AM ET news services

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather said Tuesday that he is not ready to surrender his job to Mark Messier, the man who delivered a long-awaited Stanley Cup to the Rangers.

Messier caught many in the Rangers' organization off guard Monday by telling the Toronto Sun that he planned to talk to Sather about taking his job when he left the team.

Sather had given no indication he was ready to leave.

"Who knows in sports business, but I don't have any plans to do anything immediately," Sather said Tuesday before the Rangers played the Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena. "I understand that Mark can make a comment basically about anything he wants to do in his future, but anything that we're going to talk about between each other is going to stay with us, at least it'll stay on my side."

Sather said he has not specifically talked about the general manager's job with Messier, who ended 54 years of frustration in New York by leading the Rangers to a Cup in 1994. He said any comments between the two would remain private.

Sather felt Messier might make a good general manager, with the proper preparation.

"In today's day and age it's difficult enough to do this job unless you spend some time training, but Mark is capable to do an awful lot of things with his life," Sather said. "He wouldn't be the first athlete that has been able to get into a position of responsibility and do well. It depends on where a guy's ambition is."

Sather refused to comment on whether Messier deserved the job more than Don Maloney, who has been his assistant for the past six years.

"First of all I don't think a position like that is something anyone would discuss in the newspaper," Sather said. "The policy the [Madison Square] Garden has had all the time I've been here is we don't discuss these things publicly."

Messier played 25 NHL seasons before retiring last September. Besides winning a Cup in New York, he won five others in Edmonton.

Messier told The Sun that he plans to move back to New York and make it his family's primary residence. He plans on talking to Sather about his future after Messier's banner-raising in Edmonton on Feb. 27.

"I just know New York fits best for me and my family. And this is what I know best and what I love the most," he told The Sun.

Messier's father, Doug, said the six-time Cup winner has a plan.

"He's not moving back just to go to nightclubs," Doug Messier said. "He must know something."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.