The 42-year-old Rangers captain and six-time Stanley Cup winner
scored his 1,851st point on Nov. 4 to move past Gordie Howe into
second place on the NHL's alltime scoring list.
SI: What did Gordie Howe mean to you when you were growing up in
Messier: My dad, Doug, was in the Red Wings' organization, and he
played exhibition games with him and got to know him on and off
the ice. My dad had great respect for Gordie and spoke so highly
of him. Gordie Howe was always a big name in our house.
SI: You both scored a lot, played rough and lasted a long time.
How would you compare yourself to him?
Messier: I could never compare myself to him. He's Mr. Hockey.
SI: You're only about 1,000 points shy of your old teammate Wayne
Gretzky. Do you--
Messier: Uh, Wayne's safe.
SI: As a captain how do you handle young players--such as
[23-year-old] Dominic Moore--who weren't even born when you
started in the NHL 24 years ago?
Messier: You have to make the younger players feel like they're a
big part of the team. It's important to let them play
instinctively and not fill them up with too much information that
really paralyzes them.
SI: What do you do with players who are in awe of you?
Messier: You try to dispel that quickly by getting to know them
as people and not just as hockey players. Everybody's got to be
able to come to the rink and relax with their teammates no matter
who's in here.
SI: There's such parity in the NHL. What's the difference between
a team that wins and one that doesn't?
Messier: The teams that win play with both emotion and
discipline, which is very tough to do.
SI: Gordie played until he was 52. Here you are leading the team
with six goals. How long will you play?
Messier: I'm one year at a time. It's tough feeling good
consistently when you get older.
SI: What did [Rangers coach] Glen Sather say after you passed
Messier: I've known Slats for more than 30 years, since before he
was my first NHL coach. Words didn't need to be said. He just
looked at me, and it was obvious he was feeling really happy.
For more from Mark Messier go to si.com/siexclusive.