The New York Rangers Backbone-David Quinn

The New York Rangers have been widely known as one of the youngest teams in hockey. With only one player remaining from the 2014 cup run, the majority of the former Rangers are gone. The Rangers regressed from their golden age, they needed someone new. Which is exactly what they did. After firing Align Vigneux on April 7th, 2018, The Rangers hired David Quinn, on May 23rd, 2018. Quinn’s arrival was perfect for a young coach eager to get his feet wet in the NHL. However, Quinn’s first task would be to attempt the daunting rebuild process with the hopes of developing the Rangers into the winning team they once were.

Terrier Roots

Before joining the Rangers in his NHL coaching debut back in 2018, he had an extremely successful five years with the Boston Terriers. In Quinn’s five seasons as head coach, he brought his team to four NCAA appearances. Out of these four, he won two regular-season Hockey East titles (2015, and 2017), as well as two Hockey East tournament titles (2015, and 2018). Not only did he have a vast array of titles under his belt, but he was also victorious in tournaments. In 2015, he achieved every young Bostonian boys dream; which was winning the Beanpot Tournament. Thanks to his triumphant feats that year, he was awarded the Hockey East Coach of the Year Award shortly after the victory. Not only was he the mastermind behind BU’s success during his coaching years, but he was also a big influence as a player.

Quinn spent his four years at BU from 1984-1988 and contributed to the Terriers Hockey East Championship in 1986. His influence as a captain during his last season helped build one of collegiate hockey’s most admirable programs. Little did he know, he would eventually step back on campus to become a scholar of coaching the game he loves. Ultimately, preparing himself for his next step toward the big apple.

 Quinn’s Role In NY

The main reason Quinn was hired was due to his ability to work well with young, developing players. Since The Rangers rebuild was targeted towards becoming quicker, faster, and younger, Quinn seemed to be a perfect fit. With experience in working with young players at BU, it was very possible he would carry his innate coaching abilities to the pros. In which he did. Since he has been in New York, he has seen some of the league’s youngest players to lace ’em up for his team. Players like Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil, are some of the players who have benefited from Quinn’s motivating coaching. “It’s figuring out how to coach everybody and make them the best player they can be, and figure out how to push their buttons”, said Quinn.

The coach has also often talked about how he leans on his relationships with the players to indicate how they should be coached. On top of this, he has said how each player on the team has to be coached differently to get the best out of them. Quinn takes time to single-handedly understand what it takes to make each of his players clocks tick; which shows great dedication on his part. This stems from Quinn’s confidence in the way he presents himself. “I don’t say this with any arrogance, but I haven’t been nervous for one second being the head coach of the New York Rangers”, said Quinn. The way he walks, talks, and commands his team, is a primary reason why he coaches as if he were a veteran.

Moving Forward

Soon going into his third season as The Rangers head coach, I expect a lot from Quinn. The Rangers are slowly moving out of the rebuild phase, and into the contention phase. Although Quinn had an early playoff exit this past summer, the team made remarkable leaps and bounds from the season before. A team that had more losses than wins in the 2018-2019 season, was transformed into a team that was competing for a cup. Which is an amazing accomplishment when put into perspective.  On paper, this upcoming season is setting up for success. The Rangers prospects are developing, their goalie situation is squared away, and they resigned essential players. The path toward the Stanley Cup is becoming a little more clear for David Quinn as he heads into the 2020-2021 season.

If I had to give him any advice it would be to stick to your roots. Don’t stray away from the tactics that have brought you success and got you to where you are today. To go 105-68-21 in the most competitive division in colligate hockey certainly turns heads. So long as Quinn aides the younger players, and establishes himself as a commander, he should do very well. This year, The Rangers are certainly lacking a veteran presence on their roster. Which is why it’s essential for Quinn to fulfill this role of leadership like he has done in the past.

Improvements

As far as I can tell, I don’t think Quinn has to drastically change his coaching approach. He has instilled a reward system in every player’s mind, which has been proven to work in their play performance. Those who play hard whenever they are on the ice get rewarded. Those who don’t will find themselves riding the pine pony. Whether you’re a call-up from Hartford or a first-line center, he holds everyone accountable regardless of what your name is. If there was a weakness of David Quinn’s, it may be his too frequent blending of lines.

Although it is great to try new line combinations, ultimately, the main goal is to create chemistry. When you’re flip-flopping the lines too much, it’s hard to preserve that chemistry. I saw a little bit of this when the Rangers were in the play-in-round, or in nail-biting games. If you need to catch the opposing team off guard by flipping the lines, then so be it. By all means! However, frequent line changes could alter the team’s style of play. Which could have been a factor in The Rangers inconsistency throughout the season.

Overall, Quinn has done a phenomenal job building this franchise back to where it belongs. Nevertheless, he’s not done just yet. His vocal coaching, tough, yet rewarding personality, has gotten him to where he is now; and he must not forget it.  There is still a Stanley Cup out there with The New York Rangers name on it. With some patients and determination, Quinn could soon find himself holding a trophy other than the Beanpot. So get to lifting David Quinn, the Stanley Cup is a lot heavier than tiny college trophies.

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