Break up day reveals it’s playoffs or bust for New York Rangers next season, while David Quinn’s future in doubt

David Quinn New York Rangers
Feb 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers head coach David Quinn against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers break up day was conducted via a series of Zoom interviews that kicked off with Ryan Strome. He set the tone when asked if making the playoffs was the next step for this team after management changes. “That’s the goal,” he said. “Message sent and received.”

Rangers offseason is all about playoffs next year

Almost to a man, every Blueshirt that spoke today made it clear that it’s all about the playoffs now. Talk is cheap,” Chris Kreider said. He made it a point that everyone in the organization needs to do whatever they have to this summer to make it happen. “Our attitude starting right now has to be we’re making the playoffs next year.”

When Kreider was asked about missing the final few games of the season he said it was one of the more difficult things he’s had to go through in his career. “It ripped my heart out,” the always truthful forward said.

Adam Fox, who was honored as the Team MVP earlier in the day echoed similar postseason sentiments. “It’s frustrating for the guys not to be in the playoffs,” he began. “Our goal every season is to compete for the Stanley Cup. I think the guys understand that and going into next year, that’s the expectation.”

David Quinn gets praise from players, but future very uncertain

new york rangers
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers head coach David Quinn was not made available today to the media. There was also no word if he would be at any point. The speculation is that the Rangers will be moving on and looking to bring in a more experienced coach for the next phase.

When directly asked about his head coach’s future Ryan Strome said, “I really don’t know anything.” He then proceeded to explain how much his game has grown under Quinn. Alexis Lafrenière also went on to praise his coach for working with him this season. “He helped me a lot,” the 19 year-old rookie said.

Adam Fox spoke very highly of Quinn and the coaching staff. “From day one they just harped on me being a complete player,” he noted. “They knew I could defend. They helped me elevate my game.”

However, the most important and telling person to speak on the Rangers’ bench boss was Mika Zibanejad. “I think over the last 3 years, in the beginning you’re trying to figure each other out,” he explained. “It’s been good, it’s been good with the whole coaching staff.” He also stressed this was a different kind of year with so much happening.

Then a potential foreshadowing of things to come took place. When asked if he would like to see Quinn back next season Mika dodged the question. Sometimes, it’s the answer the player doesn’t give that are the most telling.

Other key New York Rangers tidbits

  • Mika Zibanejad admitted that COVID wiped him out for much of the beginning of the season but he refused to use it as an excuse.
  • Mika also said he loves being a Ranger and wants to be here beyond his contract which expires next summer.
  • Jacob Trouba was close to returning from his head injury, but he sat out the rest of the year once the team was eliminated as a precaution.
  • Kaapo Kakko was very happy with his game defensively but wants to be on the top two lines next season scoring. “That’s my job,” he said.
  • Brendan Smith is interested in coming back, even if not in a top 4 role.
  • K’Andre Miller said that his focus will be to get bigger and stronger for next season.
  • Ryan Lindgren, who signed a new three-year deal today talked about grit and that he feels the guys in the room are willing to do it, as they did the second Caps game.
  • Artemi Panarin was not made available for comment.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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