The legendary Red Fisher pens a nice tribute to number 11.
"He was always a very emotional guy," Sather said. "I remember once, I was coaching a Canada Cup game and he hit some Russian guy ... and nearly tore the guy's face off. It was a great Gordie Howe elbow, but I don't think Gordie ever hit anybody that hard!"
I once met Messier when the whole New York Ranger team came in to a restaurant I was working at in Ottawa around 2003. They all had dinner, including Glen Sather and even all the trainers and equipment staff. In fact, that's the table that Messier sat at - with the trainers.
What awed me was after dinner when everyone was busy talking and laughing, Messier stood up to address the team. I've never seen a room fall so silent like that. And all he was doing was giving instructions on where to grab some muffins and desert back at the hotel! He said it was okay for everybody to stay and relax but the fact that they had a big game the next day against Ottawa, he suggested that everyone get a good night's sleep. Immediately, every player stood up and filed out.
The respect for this guy in the room was palpable. When he talked, people listened. At even the slightest suggestion, people acted.
I've never really been around an NHL dressing room, but this one brief encounter with "the leader" is something I'll never forget.