Reviewing Rangers Coach David Quinn

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Reviewing Rangers Coach David Quinn

Michael Delasandro, Staff Writer

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This past season, the New York Rangers have played a fair amount of less than meaningful hockey.

Despite only being mathematically eliminated by game 74, the Rangers have had a bit of a rebuilding mindset, carried over from last season. The acquisition of several picks and conditionals after dealing Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes, with the expectation of drafting strong. However, something a bit more pertinent to the Rangers season, was the coaching of David Quinn. Appointed head coach over summer of 2018, Quinn brought new concepts that were not employed by former head coach, Alain Vigneault. What Quinn did differently started with making players accountable. Early in the season, many Rangers made rounds being healthy scratched, with a notable example being Vlad Namestnikov. Namestnikov was scratched very early in October, and upon his return to the lineup, started to perform as a role player.
This season, Namestnikov has a career high total in hits with over 120, approaching double what his career high prior to this. He has contributed 28 points at the time of writing, as well as some very valuable defensive play. The value of scratching Namestnikov is not that he magically improved after the fact, but rather the concept of responsibility and accountability. Quinn was quoted early in the season about scratching based on a few factors, of which accountability was a big part.

Clarity and an upfront coaching staff also played a key role in this. Vigneault was often criticized by his players after his termination, with rumors that coach communication was not up to par.

The special teams groups have been a bit of a mashup, with the power play sitting right around league average at 19.5%, however the penalty kill, sitting very low in the league at 77%. You may be able to attribute this to assistant coach Lindy Ruff. The changing personnel on the team also likely plays into the rather average special teams.

Despite a season that will finish with the Rangers missing the playoffs for the second straight season, and five years removed from a conference final appearance, you can trust David Quinn to hold his players accountable on and off the ice, and only punishing them for bad decision making, as opposed to Vigneault’s policy of punishing players who were deployed improperly. Quinn could have the New York Rangers back to the playoffs, provided a strong effort by GM Jeff Gorton, by next season.

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