The New York Rangers have played 9 games so far and currently sit in the last place in the East Division at 3-4-2. Head coach David Quinn is the main target of blame for this. Quinn, who had some questions going into the season, is now facing even more heat from fans and management. So, is it really time to pull the plug on DQ?
Starting Off Slow
The Rangers’ start to the season has been lackluster at best and a complete trainwreck at worst. The Blueshirts have many winnable games in the third period and overtime, they haven’t been able to hang on to a lead, and the locker room situation has been awful. Offensively, the Rangers have missed countless scoring chances and struggled to put games away. Defensively, there has been awful play and miscommunication when it matters most. Quinn has not been helping this slow start in any way and has seemingly been doing more harm than good on the Rangers’ bench.
What is David Quinn Doing Wrong?
The biggest problem with Quinn these first 9 games is that there is never any line consistency. David Quinn has had a twitchy finger with the lines, constantly shuffling them. In a 4-0 loss against the New York Islanders, I can understand the experimentation. However, the problem is that the lines have been different almost every game. The loss of young center Filip Chytil and the placement of defenseman Anthony DeAngelo on waivers hasn’t helped the Rangers in terms of keeping consistent lines, but DQ still needs to have more patience with his players. The constant swapping of lines can hurt chemistry and make it hard for the Rangers to find consistent scoring.
Utilize Young Talent
David Quinn also needs to put his stars and his young players in a position to succeed. The Rangers’ top 9 forward group, for example, is full of young star power. However, DQ does little to utilize that talent outside of a few players. 2019 second overall selection Kaapo Kakko has rarely seen the ice this season and was quickly demoted to the 3rd line. Kakko hasn’t succeeded there, with only 2 goals on the season and no assists. The Rangers’ first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere only has 1 goal in 9 games, and while he’s playing well, hasn’t shown it on the scoreboard much. Lafreniere has bounced around lines, going from 3rd to 1st to 2nd. The frequent changes haven’t seemed to have a positive effect on his play either. Julien Gauthier has been off and on a healthy scratch, even though he creates lots of chances and plays well. David Quinn has been given a first and second overall pick the last two years, as well as a ton of other young players like Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil, to name a couple. If these players aren’t developing well and the Rangers can’t succeed with them, then it looks like the problem is Quinn.
Finding a Spark
This team is full of amazing, young, talented players who have a lot of chemistry together. However, this team seems to have no motivation or drive. The Rangers look slow out of the gate and are unable to finish off games. There is a lot of sloppy play for the Rangers’ to start this season. This is to be expected, considering this is a young team. However, I think that makes it even more important for there to be a coach that can fire them up. Morale is heavily underestimated in sports, and a coach who can ignite a fire in these talented and young players is important for a team. Quinn needs to get control of the locker room as well as get the locker room fired up. Quinn needs to turn to the leaders and stars to help build momentum and carry that into the rest of the team so morale can be better.
The Excuses for David Quinn
Starting off with the biggest excuse, it has been 9 games. The Rangers are very much in a position to compete still. I’m always going to be one to steer toward patience for a coach, especially after a short period of time. Firing David Quinn would just put the Rangers in the position of searching for a coach again. In my opinion, unless a coach is 0-9, I wouldn’t fire them after 9 games. Patience is still key here.
There is no ignoring that there was improvement last season in comparison to Quinn’s first, even if not shown in the standings. The Rangers went from a team stuck in a rebuild to seemingly on the brink of playoff contention. Another reason to trust Quinn is the potential for this trend to continue, especially with the developing talent the Rangers possess.
The Rangers also find themselves in a challenging division this season, and amidst everything that is happening this year and all the questions, it will take a little while for the young team to settle into the season.
As previously stated, last year the Rangers started to place themselves on the brink of playoff contention. If Quinn wants to keep his job, there needs to be more improvement this year. If the Rangers take a step back that might mean DQ loses his job.
I think David Quinn is on an incredibly hot seat right now. There should definitely be pressure on him to keep his job. If he fails to improve the team this season or things look bad halfway through, then I would fire him.
However, it should be known that the Rangers are in an incredibly close division. They have a record just under .500 after 9 out of 56 games. They are not out of this season yet, so once again, patience is key.