David Quinn Holding Rangers Accountable To His Style Of Play

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Jim McIsaac

When the Rangers hired David Quinn over the summer, forward Kevin Hayes told Newsday that the former BU coach would bring accountability to the players and the organization. “I think a major thing he’ll bring to this team, to this organization, is accountability.” This is not to say that players under previous coaching regimes weren’t held accountable when a player made a poor decision on the ice or was struggling over a number of games. Heck, Mike Keenan pulled arguably the greatest American goaltender of all-time in the first period of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals. But for the Rangers of more recent memory, players have been able to skate by without giving 100% effort every night. And with David Quinn in charge, that is not going to happen again.

This dogma of accountability is nice in theory, but when you see the coaching staff practicing what they are preaching should put a smile on the face of Rangers fans, who just ask the players always give their best efforts night after night. It is also nice seeing that Quinn isn’t playing favorites when it comes to gluing guys to the bench or having them watch a game from the press box. As Rick Carpiniello pointed out in The Athletic on Monday, the aforementioned Hayes rode the pine for large amounts of time between shifts. In addition, Kevin Shattenkirk, who played for Quinn at Boston University, played just nine shifts in Sunday’s loss to the Hurricanes and didn’t see any ice time after a brutal mistake leading to the seventh Carolina goal.  And as it was reported yesterday, it looks like Shattenkirk will join the other scratched Blueshirts in the press box at MSG on Thursday night, something which he admits should help motivate him to get better.

And that is part of why accountability is so important to any team, but especially a team that is going through a rebuild. If a player knows that he can rest on his laurels and just “go through the motions,” Quinn will be there to show him the bench and have someone else take that player’s spot. Just like any other job outside of sports, if an employee is slacking and/or not performing in the office, the boss has every right to reprimand them. As Quinn put it to the NY Post on Friday when asked if he has to change the way he holds his players accountable, he answered the following:  “No,” he said, struggling even to elaborate. “This is life. You have to be held accountable.”

While the way in which Quinn chose his lineup for Sunday’s game, dressing Tony DeAngelo as the seventh defenseman and scratching both Vinni Lettieri and Cody McLeod, should be questioned; especially with the team still getting used to Quinn’s style of play, one thing that should not be questioned is Quinn’s expectations for his players to constantly be competing. You aren’t going to win every single game, but if you play the right way and work hard, it will give you a better chance at getting those two points.

Hayes said in training camp that compared to the previous regime under Alain Vigneault, there was a palpable feeling of accountability. “There’s a work aspect to this camp where everyone is held accountable. Things that maybe should have been addressed and weren’t, maybe taken for granted, they’re being addressed now. You’re going to work hard or you’re not going to play.” And we have already seen that accountability at play with Hayes himself, who has been known to seemingly take shifts off and not skate hard for the duration of his shifts. Hayes has been skating harder, faster, and has played a much more physical game, another aspect of Quinn’s style of play.

The bottom line here is now that the players know that no matter their status on the team, save for maybe Henrik Lundqvist, or a guy’s previous relationship with the coaching staff, if you don’t perform up to Quinn’s standards, your skates will not touch the ice. In the summer, Quinn said on SiriusXM that “clarity is all a player wants and that has been the basis of my coaching philosophy. The sooner you can be honest with someone and tell them the truth the quicker they can correct the problem or continue to do the things they are doing well.” And as we’ve seen so far under David Quinn, each Rangers player knows exactly where they stand with their head coach.

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