New York Rangers: Gripes With David Quinn So Far

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: David Quinn of the New York Rangers handles bench duties against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on September 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: David Quinn of the New York Rangers handles bench duties against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on September 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Although it is tough to criticize New York Rangers coach David Quinn this early, there is some reason to so far. Let’s explore some of the critiques Quinn rightfully deserves.

The New York Rangers new head coach, David Quinn, isn’t just new to New York. The Boston University product is new to the NHL entirely. With this in mind, and the Rangers expected to struggle this season, it was expected that there would be some growing pains with the players as well as the coach.

With approximately 20% of the season complete, those growing pains have shown in a number of ways. In some ways, those pains fall directly onto the shoulders of the players. Veterans have struggled. The young kids are adjusting. As usual, the thin thread holding the Rangers together has been Henrik Lundqvist.

Despite these player-based flaws, much lies on the shoulders of the coaching staff. The errors, while different from the toxic internal issues of Alain Vigneault’s locker room are often systems and development based and as such, require some adjustments to be made going forward with this year. Let’s take a look at what some of these flaws are.

*Before we begin, I feel like a little disclaimer may be necessary here. By no means is this a way of insinuating that Quinn is a bad coach, or that he should be fired. Those are decisions that require a much larger sample of poor performance and behavior patterns to consider. These are merely observations that hopefully get corrected with time.*

Now that that’s out of the way…

David Quinn’s Flaws and Failures So Far

One of David Quinn’s biggest flaws so far as a coach at the NHL level has been his line shuffling. Yes, coaches in the past for the Rangers, as well as present for other teams, shuffle lines all the time. It is a natural part of coaching, especially when new, to get the best idea of what you have and what combinations work.

However, where Quinn’s issue lies is the frequency with which he makes line changes and his accountability rules with lineup movements. So far, he has made pretty significant changes after just about every game. In a season like this, that is more or less expected to be a poor year statistically, allowing some of the young players to gain chemistry and playing experience is much more important than shuffling lines. They need to play through the struggles.

On that same topic, while his accountability seems to be a little more consistent throughout than Vigneault, some players seem to be treated much differently than others. For example, Jimmy Vesey has yet to sit out of a game; in fact, his minutes continue to increase, in spite of many other players riding the pine while performing considerably better than him.

Following up on that, the biggest flaw Quinn has displayed is one that would normally be considered a positive trait: an extremely competitive attitude. As previously mentioned, this season is essentially considered to be “lost” across the board. Management wrote a letter to fans. It has been mentioned time and time again that this is a rebuilding year. Losses are not just expected, they’re almost welcomed in this environment.

Now, obviously, these are professionals who hate to lose. No one is saying that the team is trying to lose, or that they should. However, what should be held as priority number one is playing time for those that will be major cogs of the future of this Rangers team. So far, this has not been addressed, particularly in the cases of playing time for Filip Chytil, Pavel Buchnevich, and to a lesser extent, Anthony DeAngelo and Lias Andersson.

Assuredly, there will be moves that will free up space for these players to receive more consistent playing time.

However, the plan going into the year was expected to be that the young players would receive consistent ice time, regardless of wins or losses, unless those young players made very flagrant and obvious mistakes that could not be constructively improved upon with on-ice play. Wins were supposed to be secondary to playing time and development.

Quinn’s competitive attitude is almost undermining this goal. The issue with his competitive attitude is that the team is not in any way up to that challenge. Whatever line combinations he puts together will ultimately lead to the same end result: a missed playoffs.

With that in mind, revolving door lineups need to be exchanged for consistent lines where the best players of the Rangers future get played and allow mistakes to be played through and experienced constructively.

What’s more, you don’t want to undermine the confidence of these younger players. Chytil was allowed to stay with the Rangers in spite of his contract still having slide eligibility.

Buchnevich was finally expected to be free of the shackles of scapegoating. Buchnevich, in particular, has even been vocal about how demotions hurt his confidence. These are guys that need play time to stay in a groove, to build off of mistakes not by sitting, but by grinding it out on the ice.

Next. Henrik Lundqvist Is Going Down With The Ship. dark

Hopefully, as time passes and trades are made, the understanding of what this team it sets in a little bit more. As it stands now, though, Quinn must grasp that this is a transitioning team. The time will come where competing for a Stanley Cup will be a reality again. Right now, however, it is not that time, and the sooner that becomes a team wide understanding, the better.