After a shaky start to his NHL career, David Quinn has the Rangers rolling

quinn
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Quinn leading his charges (Getty Images)

David Quinn came in to his first NHL head coaching gig with high praise and expectations. The Rangers were discombobulated during the exhibition season and couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. Most on lookers dismissed it as preseason tinkering, but when the season started it carried over.

Rough Start

The Rangers came out of the gate losing their first 3 games. The most embarrassing performance happened in Carolina after blowing 4 leads and ultimately losing 8-5. Quinn would get his first win at home against the Sharks on a Brady Skjei goal in OT, yet the bad play would continue.

October was filled with issues on offense, miscues on defense, and a rash of bad penalties. At one point the Rangers had taken so many Too Many Men penalties that David Quinn had to practice line changes.

I repeat; PRACTICE LINE CHANGES!

Then there were the scratches. David Quinn put Neal Pionk in street clothes and did the same to Pavel Buchnevich. This coming off the decision to send Lias Andersson to Hartford to start the season and keeping a guy like Cody McLeod not only up, but in the starting lineup.

When October was over, David Quinn and his Rangers were off to a terrible 4-7-1 start. Of their 4 wins, only 1 was in regulation and they had given up 41 goals (3.72) while only scoring 30 (2.72). The shine on the new coach was starting to fade and some fans were beginning to wonder.

AP

Motivating Players By Holding Them Accountable

A funny thing happened on the way to 1st place in the Metro…

October may have seemed like a problem in the eyes of experts and fans, but David Quinn was laying the foundation and setting the guidelines on how to be successful under him. Neal Pionk responded after his benching to go on to lead the Rangers defense in points. Pavel Buchnevich came back from his healthy scratch with 2 goals and 4 points in 4 games before he went down with injury.

Quinn’s persistence and willingness to get in there and communicate with his players was starting to pay off. Video of him on the ice coaching Filip Chytil one-on-one had Steven Valiquette and the rest of the MSG Broadcast Team shocked and impressed. You see, for the most part that’s the job of assistant coaches, but David Quinn rolled up his sleeves to guide one of the Rangers most promising young forwards himself.

Under the coach’s leadership, the Rangers stopped taking stupid penalties, and started putting in the work. Quinn also started making moves to get the most out of his lineup, none more important than shifting Chytil from center to wing. The decision has paid off big for the kid and the team, as he’s now scored goals in 5 straight.

A November to Remember (so far)

Since the calendar turned from October to November, the Rangers have gone 8-1-1 and are tied for the lead in the Metro Division. They did it on the strength of scoring 34 goals and limiting their goals against to 24. This rebuilding squad has made an incredible turnaround in a very short time.

The praise should go to the players, but in fairness to David Quinn and his staff, they deserve a huge amount of credit. They have kept with it and stuck to their guns. More importantly, they are all engaged, none more so than Quinn.

After years of Alain Vigneault’s hands off approach, which worked effectively after John Tortorella’s in your face style, Quinn is a breath of fresh air. The best thing about him is his emotions are evident out there as he’s coaching. While he isn’t as bombastic as Torts he has no problem speaking his mind either.

David Quinn is a hard worker. He is also a fiery, hands-on coach who believes in letting his passion and competitive spirit show. In the NHL they say a team takes on the personality of their coach and the Rangers are doing just that. And it’s paying off on the ice and in the standings.

What’s Next?

The Rangers will have to shake off the effects of Thanksgiving dinner with two division games against Philly and Washington. Then they will wrap up the month with a home and home series against the surprising Ottawa Senators. Even a split would give the Rangers an astounding record of 10-3-1 for the month but they could win all 4 games right now.

So where do the Rangers and David Quinn go from here? Who knows, but if they continue to put in the work it can only be good things. And as David Quinn says, “Hard work feels good”. Yes it does, coach. Yes it does.