It has been almost 20 years since the New York Rangers last won the Stanley Cup, 20 years since Mark Messier cemented himself as a legend in the Big Apple. The mere mention of his name is enough to lift the spirits of a Rangers fan

With the Rangers limping along under first-year head coach Alain Vigneault this season, it almost feels like a heck of a lot longer than 20 years since Messier guaranteed a victory in the Eastern Conference finals before hoisting the Cup a couple of weeks later.

Yes, those days are long gone at this point but Messier's aura in New York remains, as does his presence. Messier isn't around the club much at all but he remains in the Big Apple, living right up the road in Connecticut where his son and daughter both play hockey. He stays plenty busy but there is always time to keep up with hockey.

"I keep track of the whole the NHL; the teams, the players, the stories that unfold on a day to day basis," Messier said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "My son is 10 and playing hockey, my daughter is eight and playing hockey. We're avid fans."

Seeing as how he remains in the area where his career came to a close 10 years ago, that absolutely includes keeping tabs on his old team, the Blueshirts. Things haven't been going so well for the Rangers this season, they are below .500 and if they played in any other division they'd be in a lot worse shape.

But have no fear, Rangers fans, the Captain isn't worried.

"When you implement new systems, new coaches, new people it takes a while," Messier explained. "You watch the games and see a lot of synergy and cohesion that needs to be in place in order for a team to be successful. If they are hesitating at all normally that doesn't pan out very well."

That might explain their early season struggles and substandard record. It also helps to explain why Messier isn't all that concerned.

"I expect the Rangers to have a strong second half," he said. "It's a long season, they have a lot of great players. I wouldn't be willing to jump off the ship quite yet."

The Rangers have been dealt their fair share of injuries so far, but that's like every team. Still, losing not only a player of Ryan Callahan's level but also a leader of his level, well that's something Messier can understand very well. He knows what Callahan does as the Rangers captain, Cally has been in the running for the Mark Messier Leadership Award in the past. He's a big part of the club.