Could Mess return to Oilers?

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

With unrestricted free agent Mark Messier saying this week that if he decides to put off retirement and play again it likely won't be with the New York Rangers, expect the rumour mill to crank up one more time regarding a return to the Edmonton Oilers.

An encore in Edmonton by the Moose, who last skated here draped in Oilers' silks at the Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium, isn't very likely, but never say never where the former captain is concerned.

"It would be a good story for us," said coach Craig MacTavish, who is on vacation in B.C. "I would say that it's a long shot, but I wouldn't say it would never happen."

While Messier, 44, is clearly no longer the dominant first-line centre that he once was, the future hall-of-famer still managed 43 points in 76 games with the Rangers in 2003-04.

Given the intangibles, like the leadership he'll bring any team he signs with, there's more to Messier's value than just numbers. He's also willing to listen to offers.

"Don't forget, he was close to being one of their better players," MacTavish said. "With his leadership, he could be really beneficial in the right situation. We've pursued it in the past. I think Mark knows where he stands."


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