In his post-game remarks after the loss to Columbus, Coach David Quinn was clearly agitated. He is not happy with the version of the New York Rangers that he has been saddled with and he didn’t pull any punches.
If you haven’t seen David Quinns’ post-game press conference after the New York Rangers 7-5 loss to Columbus, you need to watch it:
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) January 14, 2019
When your coach calls your effort a “freakin’ joke” there is no doubt that he is unhappy with the team. In the video clip he spoke generally about the lack of physicality from his team.
Before that he was specific about what happened in the Columbus game: “They just won every one on one battle. Every time they went into the corner, they came out with the puck…our guys on the flanks didn’t help at all, that’s a team (Columbus) that competes hard on pucks. They test your mettle and we failed miserably tonight, miserably. Our lack of determination on one-on- one battles, fishing for pucks, you do that in this league and that’s what happens to you, you get your asses handed to you.”
He spared no one on the team in his critique: “We have zero chance if we have 20 guys in uniform not willing to compete over pucks and get into people and have a little bit of snarl to your game.”
That’s a pretty damning condemnation of the current Ranger roster. Quinn has made it clear what he values through benchings and playing time. To him, it is not working. This time he pulled no punches.
What can be done?
David Quinn was hired on May 19, just over a month before the NHL Entry Draft. Obviously concerned with assembling a coaching staff and wrapping up his career at Boston University, Quinn had minimal input at the draft or on any personnel decisions made before training camp. He had to make do with the team he was given.
All that changes in 2019-20 and it will start at the trade deadline in February. If the Rangers are committed to him they need to let him assemble a squad that mirrors his vision of what will succeed in New York.
What’s refreshing is that Quinn clearly sees what most Ranger fans have known for years. The Rangers are soft. They are a pass first, finesse-driven team that is not hard to play against. They don’t win the puck battles on the boards and the don’t shoot and crash the net. Those strategies work. Ask Columbus or Vegas, teams built on that formula.
When David Quinn condemns an entire roster for a lack of physicality, he is being diplomatic. He knows who he wants to keep and who he thinks should getting their luggage out of storage. The question is how possible is it to assemble the team that can win under David Quinn.