Legends of Hockey - Induction Showcase - Mark Messier
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Mark Messier - Player Category
After skipping out on major junior and college hockey altogether, Mark Messier was drafted in the 3rd round, 48th overall, by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
Mark Messier's nickname, "the Moose," is a tribute to his size, strength and determination. A player renowned for his leadership abilities and one of the all-time leading NHL scorers, Messier emerged from the great Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s to become a hockey superstar. He was a powerful skater who combined playmaking skill and a goal-scoring touch with the toughness necessary to survive and thrive in the corners. Six times his teams sipped from the Stanley Cup and on two occasions Messier took home the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.


On the international stage, Messier represented his country at three Canada Cup Tournaments (1984, 1987 and 1991), one World Championship (1989) and one World Cup (1996).

Like Gordie Howe, Messier is credited with being the most complete player of his generation. He was a power forward, a two-way left winger and sometime center with talent and overwhelming power and size and an unpredictable mean streak. Messier acquired his multidimensional game during a childhood filled with hockey in his home town of Edmonton. At age four, he was attending his father's minor-league practices. At age 11, he was a stick boy for the Spruce Grove Mets in the Alberta junior leagues, the team he would star on just five years later.

Together Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky would lead the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships in five years. However, the duo would split in 1988 when Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
Messier was a big kid, just 16 and weighing close to 200 pounds and his talent was so obvious that he skipped major junior and college hockey altogether. The Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association gave him a five game tryout when he was a 17 year-old in 1978. Though he failed to register a point and was released by the Racers just before the franchise folded, he did celebrate his 18th birthday in the pro ranks after the Cincinnati Stingers, a competing WHA team, signed him as a free agent and he played 47 games for that team. In 1979 he was selected by the Edmonton Oilers as the team's second choice, 48th overall in the NHL's Entry Draft.

In his second season as captain of the Oilers, Messier would capture the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player and lead the Oilers to their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Messier began the 1979-80 season with the Oilers, but the poise and professionalism that would one-day make him the game's premier leader, were still being developed by the NHL rookie. He scored 50 goals in 1981-82, his third season, double his total of the year before, and was selected to the NHL's First All-Star Team.

When the Oilers won their first of four Stanley Cup championships in five years in 1984, Messier, on a team with such stars as Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr, was the most valuable player in the playoffs, capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy for his 26 post-season points and his undeniable leadership. Gretzky was a dominant offensive player and Edmonton recorded new highs for team scoring. But the Oilers in their glory years were also a tight defensive group. Messier, fast, powerful and physical, was a perfect two-way player, able to excel at both ends of the ice.

As a New York Ranger, Messier's determination and leadership would guide the club to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years. With the victory, Messier became the first player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup titles.
Gretzky and Messier were very close during their years in Edmonton. When Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Messier was made the Edmonton captain, though many predicted the Oilers' run of success would leave with the Great One. In the 1989 playoffs, the Oilers were upset by Gretzky's Kings in a close first-round series and the skepticism surrounding the team seemed to be merited. One season later, however, in 1989-90, Messier had a career year, finishing second to Gretzky in the points race with 129. He also won the Hart Trophy over Boston's Ray Bourque as the league's most valuable player. In the playoffs, with the Oilers down 2-1 in games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the semifinals, Messier took over in the fourth game, scoring two goals and collecting two assists in Edmonton's 4-2 road win. His one-man display impressed everyone who watched, Chicago players, coaches and fans included, and his all-time performance spurred the Oilers. Edmonton swept the remaining games from Chicago and easily handled Bourque and the Bruins in the finals to give Messier his fifth Stanley Cup ring with Edmonton.

In 1997 Mark Messier signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks. His stint with the club was short lived as he would return to the New York Rangers after just three seasons as a Canuck.
The small market Oilers struggled following their 1990 victory, and Messier was traded to the New York Rangers prior to the 1991-92 season for Bernie Nichols, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk. Messier's offensive production had declined in 1993-94, though he scored more than 20 goals for the 14th time in his career. In the playoffs, however, Messier was at his very best, engineering one of the great moments in New York sports history.

The Rangers were down 3-2 in games to New Jersey in the Eastern Conference finals. Messier publicly guaranteed a game six win. He followed up on his promise with a stellar performance, scoring a hat-trick in the third period to bring his team back from elimination and force a seventh game. Messier and the Rangers dispatched the Devils and then won the Cup in another thrilling series against Pavel Bure and the Vancouver Canucks. Messier scored the Cup winning goal in the seventh game. With the victory, the franchise's first in 54 years, Messier became the first player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup titles.

Along with his six Stanley Cups, Messier has also represented his country at three Canada Cup Tournaments (1984, 1987 and 1991, one World Championship (1989) and one World Cup (1996). Messier scored his 600th career goal in a win over Florida in October of 1998. He and two of his former Oilers teammates, Gretzky and Jari Kurri, were three of only ten players to ever top that benchmark.

Messier's 25-year career came to an end following the 2003-04 regular season. Among numerous awards and achievements, Messier left the game ranking second on the all-time point scoring list behind former teammate Wayne Gretzky.
He returned to the Rangers in 2000, and during the 2003-04 season surpassed Gordie Howe as the second highest point getter in NHL history. Messier went on to finish the 2003-04 season with 43 points (18-25-43) and 1,887 for his career.

Following a lock out year in 2004-05, Messier called it a career in the summer of 2005. A year after, both the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers retired his number 11 in pre-game ceremonies. Earlier that year, the National Hockey League created the Mark Messier Trophy, a monthly leadership award.


CAREER STATISTICS
REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1976-77 Spruce Grove Mets AJHL 57 27 39 66 91
1977-78 St. Albert Saints AJHL 54 25 49 74 194
1977-78 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 7 4 1 5 2
1978-79 St. Albert Saints AJHL 17 15 18 33 64
1978-79 Indianapolis Racers WHA 5 0 0 0 0
1978-79 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 47 1 10 11 58
1979-80 Edmonton Oilers NHL 75 12 21 33 120 -10 3 1 2 3 2
1979-80 Houston Apollos CHL 4 0 3 3 4
1980-81 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 23 40 63 102 -12 9 2 5 7 13
1981-82 Edmonton Oilers NHL 78 50 38 88 119 +21 5 1 2 3 8
1982-83 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 48 58 106 72 +19 15 15 6 21 14
1983-84 Edmonton Oilers NHL 73 37 64 101 165 +40 19 8 18 26 19
1984-85 Canada Can-Cup 8 2 4 6 8
1984-85 Edmonton Oilers NHL 55 23 31 54 57 +8 18 12 13 25 12
1985-86 Edmonton Oilers NHL 63 35 49 84 68 +36 10 4 6 10 18
1986-87 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 37 70 107 73 +21 21 12 16 28 16
1986-87 NHL All-Stars RV-87 2 1 0 1 0
1987-88 Canada Can-Cup 9 1 6 7 6
1987-88 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 37 74 111 103 +21 19 11 23 34 29
1988-89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 33 61 94 130 -5 7 1 11 12 8
1988-89 Canada WEC-A 6 3 3 6 8
1989-90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 45 84 129 79 +19 22 9 22 31 20
1990-91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 53 12 52 64 34 +15 18 4 11 15 16
1991-92 Canada Can-Cup 8 2 6 8 10
1991-92 New York Rangers NHL 79 35 72 107 76 +31 11 7 7 14 6
1992-93 New York Rangers NHL 75 25 66 91 72 -6
1993-94 New York Rangers NHL 76 26 58 84 76 +25 23 12 18 30 33
1994-95 New York Rangers NHL 46 14 39 53 40 +8 10 3 10 13 8
1995-96 New York Rangers NHL 74 47 52 99 122 +29 11 4 7 11 16
1996-97 Canada W-Cup 7 1 4 5 12
1996-97 New York Rangers NHL 71 36 48 84 88 +12 15 3 9 12 6
1997-98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 22 38 60 58 -10
1998-99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 13 35 48 33 -12
1999-00 Vancouver Canucks NHL 66 17 37 54 30 -15
2000-01 New York Rangers NHL 82 24 43 67 89 -25
2001-02 New York Rangers NHL 41 7 16 23 32 -1
2002-03 New York Rangers NHL 78 18 22 40 30 -2
2003-04 New York Rangers NHL 76 18 25 43 42 +3
2004-05
NHL Totals 1756 694 1193 1887 1910 236 109 186 295 244


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