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Messier ends 25-year career

NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Messier retired Monday, ending a 25-year career in which he won six Stanley Cup championships and ranked second only to Wayne Gretzky on the NHL all-time scoring list.

Messier became a star in Edmonton in the 1980s and a headliner on Broadway in the '90s, captaining the New York Rangers to the '94 championship that ended the team's 54-year title drought.

Even though the official announcement came via a conference call Monday, the 44-year-old Messier all but said goodbye on March 31, 2004, following the Rangers' final home game before the lockout that wiped out all of last season.

The Rangers held physicals for their players on Monday at the opening of training camp, but the longtime star never expressed intentions to return for another season.

But Rangers general manager Glen Sather, the architect of the Oilers' dynasty that was spearheaded by Messier and Gretzky, always left room for the rock-jawed captain to come back.

Messier teamed with Gretzky to win four championships in Edmonton during the 1980s and then won another in 1990 after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles.