David Quinn dishes on what transpired with the New York Rangers and his dismissal last season
The New York Rangers decided to clean house last year in the aftermath of the Tom Wilson incident. While that game was just the icing on the cake towards relieving president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton, it also led to the eventual firing of head coach David Quinn.
Quinn had an idea that he was also going to be let go, but in his end-of-year conversations he was still a bit surprised.
“That was a crazy year, there was so many things going on behind the scenes,” Quinn revealed on the Cam and Strick Podcast. “That being said, in my conversations with the Rangers before I got let go I asked one question, ‘Did we overachieve, underachieve, or do what we should’ve done this year,’ and the answer I got was, ‘We probably overachieved a little bit.'”
“Then I said, ‘What the f*** are we talking about!'”
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David Quinn on Tom Wilson incident
The former Rangers head coach also chimed in on the infamous game at Madison Square Garden in May when a bar fight broke out in the middle of an NHL scuffle. It was started by the head goon of the league, Tom Wilson.
It all began when the Blueshirts, on a power-play, crashed the Caps net. Pavel Buchnevich was in the middle of the action, face-down on the ice when Wilson blatantly punched Buchnevich in the back of the head.
The Blueshirts rallied as best they could to defend their player led by Artemi Panarin. In the scrum, Wilson punched Panarin and dislodged his helmet. Wilson then pulled the hair of Panarin and slammed him to the ice. While Panarin tried to get up he slammed him back down to the ice, causing a cut over his eye.
“The next day JD and Jeff got fired. It was a crazy 48 hours and people thought it was a reaction to that, but it wasn’t.” Quinn said. “It was frustrating from my end. I didn’t want Brendan Smith to fight Tom Wilson. Smitty is the balls, he will be forever remembered for fighting Wilson.”
Before the rematch against the Caps, Quinn said that James Dolan came down to address the team about why he let JD and Jeff Gorton go.
Quinn harped on getting tougher for three seasons
“We talked about it for three years how we have to get harder to play against. It was part of the process of building a team when you have kids in your lineup,” Quinn explained. “Our third line last year was Chytil, Kakko, and Lafrenière, that would’ve been a great line for me at BU.”
The 55 year-old head coach wanted it clear that he was preaching toughness from the start, but knew that the goal was to develop kids. He also confirmed that the original plan was to bring in guys like Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves this season.
“We talked about protecting each other.” Quinn explained. “I’ve had that conversation for three years. Even in my first year after an exhibition game where I feel we didn’t defend each other, I called them in the next day and said, ‘that doesn’t f***ing happen here’. That should never happen to a New York Rangers hockey team.”
“When you’re built a certain way and the situation we were in, you’re going to be short of something,” he said. “That’s what we were short of (toughness).”
Before the interview was over, Quinn said that he wants another chance at a head coaching job in the NHL.
Quinn finished his Rangers tenure with a record of 96-87-25 and a .522 wining percentage in three seasons.
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