Rangers Roundup: Sammy Blais on NY; Messier was asked to coach after Torts; and more

There was a lot of shock when Pavel Buchnevich was traded to St. Louis. That shock turned into anger when fans saw the minuscule return. The Rangers traded their first line right wing for a fourth liner and a second round draft pick.

The trade was for cap saving purposes as Buchnevich subsequently signed a four-year contract with the Blues at an AAV of $5.8 million. How this trade will ultimately be judged is by what Chris Drury does with that savings, but so far Sammy Blais is turning some heads.

Sammy Blais on playing in NY

Blais, 25, has three assists in six games with the New York Rangers. He’s been moved around the lineup due to injuries but is currently on a third line with Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow.

The 6-2, 205 lbs forward is a banger with 17 hits already registered on the season. What’s impressed many are his silky mitts in tight, and his passing ability. That part of his game is what helped him during his minor hockey career, but he was told to become more physical if he wanted to make the NHL.

In a wide ranging interview with Steve Serby of the NY POST, Blais offered up what playing in New York is like, and dished on head coach Gerard Gallant.

“Pressure never really bothered me, to be honest,” he said of being in the Big Apple. “When I go to the rink, I have a job to do and I just try to do it my best. I don’t really think about the outside world when I’m at the rink, I just play my game and try to help my team win.”

When it came to comparing the only two coaches he’s ever played for, Blais noted similarities in how Craig Berube and Gerard Gallant don’t yell to command respect.

“Berube in St. Louis was really important for me in my career, and I have nothing bad to say about him and just want to say thank you to him for everything he did,” he explained. “Gerard has been really, really good with me and he’s really important for a team, he’s good with the young guys, and I think everyone in the locker room has a lot of trust in him. Just really happy to be here in New York and have a coach like that is really huge for sure.”

Messier was asked to coach the Rangers

mark messier coach
Feb 8, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the ceremony honoring the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship New York Rangers team at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers ended a 54 year Stanley Cup drought thanks to the leadership of Mark Messier. Winning in New York certainly has different pressures and Mess gave some insights recently. He’s currently doing media for his new book, No One Wins Alone.

On a recent appearance of the Up In The Blue Seats podcast, Messier revealed he was asked to coach the Rangers after John Tortorella was fired in 2013.

“I had been asked to coach after they let John Tortorella go but under one condition,” Messier began. That condition was that everybody within management was in total agreement that it was a good idea Mess would be the next coach.

“It became apparent that they went a different direction, which was fine because I was the one who said ‘you guys should maybe make sure that you’re all in agreement that you want me to coach the team’,” Messier said. “When it didn’t happen I was completely fine with that.”

Mark also noted that he did not like the way he was told they would be hiring Alain Vigneault instead. “I wasn’t happy with the way it did go down and the way it was relayed to me, that they went a different direction, but things like that happen,” he said. “I have no ill feelings towards the Rangers whatsoever.”

When asked if he would still be interested in coaching, Messier said that’s behind him now and it’s not something he wants to do anymore.

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Catch up on Eichel’s grievance and Torts as coach of the Panthers here.