He was a rock during his prime and one of the best money players in the game. He enjoyed success in Edmonton in the Gretzky years, won a CUP without him but he will always be remembered as the Messiah who delivered on his Game 6 promise to win when he scored a Hat Trick against the hated NJ Devils in 1994 on his way to bringing the STANLEY CUP to the long suffering faithful in MSG. I was there on that glorious night and I will be there on January 12, 2006 when his # 11 is raised into the rafters.
Last night Madison Square Garden Network showed Game 6 of the Devils series and Game 7 of the Vancouver series as part of Messier night - I watched the final 2 minutes of each game with my newborn son - we both got goosebumps.
#3: The look of sheer joy and laughter on his face when he was being handed the Cup as a Ranger
#2: This picture I saw of him dressed as the Joker for a ritzy Halloween party. Holy lord, it was creepy.
#1: I went to charity softball game that Mess was appearing at, and he was signing autographs afterwards. This little kid with a stutter comes up and asks him for an autograph, and the poor kid had a helluva time trying to get out "Mmmmmmr. Mmmmmmmmessier...." A few jackasses chuckled, but Messier paid special attention to the kid and cheered him right up from being embarrassed. Class act, all the way.
And that kid grew up to be, you guessed it, Matt Morgan.
On the flip side, congrats to ABC for hiring Tim McGraw to tailor the lyrics to "I like it, I love it" for every halftime highlight show throughout the "Monday Night Football" season. Just last week, my buddy House and I were discussing Cosell's classic highlight narratives in the '70s, and how nobody had approached them since, and I told House, "Only one thing could ever come close, and I know it's a long shot, but what if ABC hired Tim McGraw to tailor the lyrics to 'I Like it, I Love It' for each week of NFL highlights throughout the season?" And wouldn't you know, it happened! See, dreams can come true. --- Bill Simmons, www.sportsguy.net