Advice to Quinn: “Repetition is the mother of all learning”

The ancient Athenians had a saying which has been passed on over time and adopted by many great civilizations, “repetition is the mother of all learning”. Most would assume that the type of repetitive learning the Rangers need comes from practice, but in this case they’ve had all the practice they can stand. No, it is Quinn who must create consistency in his lineup in order to give his young players a solid foundation to develop.

Routine, routine, routine

There are countless books that a child needs the stability of daily routines in order to learn. This is a foundation instilled in us from an early age, and helps us to deal with change. As adults, many of us are all still resistant to change, and find it challenging. Yet we handle them and incorporate these changes into our daily routines because we learned to do so as children. Why should this be different for athletes and in particular, hockey players?

Last night, the Rangers dropped their 5th straight in OT to Arizona. Before the game, Quinn once again made changes to his forward lines by starting Jesper Fast on the top unit, putting Smith on the 4th line, and replacing Haley with McKegg. It took a period before the lines were changed during the game and before you knew it, Quinn shortened his bench to just 8 forwards. A more unstable environment in the NHL you couldn’t find.

In a year where the Rangers are supposed to be rebuilding, their prized prospect, Kaapo Kakko saw less than 10 minutes and Lias Andersson was once again lost to a tune of just 5 minutes at even strength. Meanwhile, Smith a defenseman turned forward was one of those 8 forwards and played almost 12 minutes. When pressed, Quinn told reporters their ice time was due to the “flow of the game”.

It’s Quinn That Needs to Adjust

Paul J. Bereswill

Fans and even reporters are calling out Quinn for what is going on. You simply can’t keep doling out cliches like “flow of the game” or “trusting the process” and expect intelligent people from questioning it. He benches young players for mistakes and rewards veterans for theirs.

Yesterday was a prime example. It was Brendan Smith who shot the puck into the crowd that gave the Coyotes a 5 on 3 PP that led to their 2nd goal. Yet he was playing often in a tie game in the 3rd period, while arguably their 3rd best offensive weapon Kakko did not.

Of course the coach will counter argue with the fact he recently benched Tony DeAngelo and he scored two goals last night. Correlation does not equal causation Mr. Quinn. The truth is you are not treating players equally and the young guys know it.

It’s time for Quinn to adjust, not his players. It’s time for the organization to call up Filip Chytil and put him on a line with Kakko. It’s time to give Andersson over 10 minutes a night. It’s time for Brendan Smith to be the 7th defenseman. It’s time to send Haley to Hartford. It’s time to provide this young lineup the stabilization it needs to develop. And if Quinn won’t do it, Jeff Gorton and John Davidson will have to step in.

The Rangers young players need consistent reps with consistent line mates. They need ice time. They need a stable environment. There are plenty of changes that happen in a game naturally, it’s incumbent on the coach to not churn the waters even further.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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