Jaromir Jagr is one of them and is perfectly content to let his stick lead the Rangers toward a long-awaited playoff appearance.
"I'm happy with the 'A,'" Jagr said after his overtime goal gave New York a 5-4 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Jagr snapped a shot past Edmonton goalie Jussi Markkanen just 14 seconds into the extra session to cap off the night when the Rangers celebrated Messier's career by raising his No. 11 to the Madison Square Garden rafters.
Jagr took a pass from Michal Rozsival in the right circle, corralled the puck and slammed in his 28th of the season.
"It was very special for me," said Jagr, who leads the NHL with 67 points. "I had so much time to look around and put the puck where I wanted to."
The game started after both teams sat on their benches throughout the 1-hour, 15-minute number retirement ceremony in honor of Messier.
"It wasn't easy, but for the fans it was great," Jagr said.
Messier, a 25-year NHL veteran, left the game in September and had his number retired alongside those of former teammate Mike Richter and Hall of Famers Eddie Giacomin and Rod Gilbert.
Steve Rucchin, Fedor Tyutin, Petr Sykora and Petr Prucha had the other New York goals. The Rangers moved within five points of first-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division as they strive to reach the postseason for the first time since 1997.
Peca tied it when he crashed into goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 12:30 remaining in regulation and posted his first two-goal game
since being traded to Edmonton in the offseason. The former New York Islanders captain, greeted by boos, has only seven goals all season and had gone seven games without one.
That briefly negated the joy the home crowd felt when Prucha gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead 5:26 earlier with the 21st of his rookie season.
Rucchin provided the Rangers with a 1-0 lead that they carried into the second period, but it didn't last long.
Peca tied it with a power-play goal at 2:22 with the teams skating four-on-three. After Jagr was sent off for hooking at 23 seconds, New York's Martin Straka was caught with an illegal stick.
The second-period flurry continued with constant penalties and scoring bursts from each side.
Hemsky netted his shorthanded goal just seconds after he served a hooking infraction. Upon exiting the box, Shawn Horcoff found him with a long, lead pass near the New York blue line and Hemsky did the rest. He was stopped in front by Lundqvist but calmly controlled the puck and lifted a shot under the crossbar at 8:31.
Bergeron stretched the Oilers' lead to 3-1 just 2:16 later and it looked as though the Rangers' five-game homestand would end on a sour note.
The period that featured 10 minor penalties -- six by Edmonton -- and five goals ended with two Rangers tallies in the closing minutes.
"We had too many penalties, especially in the first two periods," Peca said.
Tyutin creeped in from the blue line to the slot and took a pass from Straka, who shook off two Oilers behind the net to get free with 3:31 left. The power-play goal made it 3-2.
"When you try to kill penalties over and over against a great power play, it's going to catch up to you," Peca said.
New York needed only 2:04 more to tie it when Prucha's shot bounced off a player from each team in front and caromed to Sykora in the left circle. He needed merely a moment to fire in his ninth of the season and second in two games since being traded to the Rangers by Anaheim last Sunday.
Sykora had a goal and assist in his debut on Tuesday, a 4-2 win over Calgary.
New York finished with three straight wins on the homestand after opening it with two consecutive overtime losses.
"We didn't start very well," Jagr said. "Since then we have been playing pretty good."
The Rangers are 2-2 when they retire a jersey number. New York beat the Minnesota North Stars in 1977 on Gilbert (No. 7) night, lost to Winnipeg when Giacomin's No. 1 was raised in 1989 and were beaten by the Minnesota Wild in 2004 when Richter's No. 35 went up. ... Michael Nylander's assist on Rucchin's goal was his 21st against Edmonton, his most against any team. ... It was Peca's first multipoint game this season.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Madison Square Garden Location: New York, New York
Referees: Dan Marouelli, Dan O'Rourke Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Brian Murphy
Attendance: 18,200 (101.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Steve Rucchin (8)
Assists: Petr Sykora, Michael Nylander
Michael Peca (7)
(Power Play) Assists: Jarret Stoll, Ryan Smyth
Ales Hemsky (12)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Shawn Horcoff
Marc-Andre Bergeron (9)
(Power Play) Assists: Jarret Stoll, Ales Hemsky
Fedor Tyutin (4)
(Power Play) Assists: Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr
Petr Sykora (9)
Assists: Steve Rucchin, Petr Prucha
Petr Prucha (21)
Assist: Martin Rucinsky
Michael Peca (7)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Ethan Moreau