Rangers coaching staff lacks NHL experience but is perfect for the game today

Greg Brown BC Eagles

David Oliver and Greg Brown have no NHL coaching experience. David Quinn has limited experience as an assistant coach in Colorado. This group is as green as they come, even though Lindy Ruff remains a part of this staff and that’s perfect for the rebuilding Rangers.

Emphasis on Development

David Oliver (Getty Images)

The additions of Oliver and Brown to the staff are all about developing this very young group of Rangers. David Oliver, who had a brief cup of coffee with the Rangers as a player in 1996/97 played a key role in the Avalanche organization as Director of Player Development. Kevin Shattenkirk, who was drafted by the Avs said that Oliver helped him transition to becoming a pro.

Greg Brown is also well regarded for his ability to develop players in college. His familiarity with Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and Brady Skjei are also a huge plus. In college hockey circles he’s viewed as one of the best hockey minds in the game for his defensive schemes and game plans.

“We’re not talking about kids here,” David Quinn said. “These are two guys who are accomplished in the game and are going to have great influence on what the New York Rangers become.” The coach expressed his need to have confidence and some familiarity in hiring his two friends, but stressed they are well known and respected in the hockey community for developing high end talented NHLers.

Laying Out Roles and Responsibilities

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers will have David Oliver and Lindy Ruff flanking coach Quinn on the bench, with Oliver responsible for the forwards. Ruff will look after the defense with Greg Brown acting as the “eye in the sky” coach from a defensive perspective. It stands to reason that if Brown is as skilled a tactician as he is being heralded as, than he should be able to read and react quicker from there.

On the penalty kill, it will be Ruff while Oliver and Brown work the power play. This of course is all subject to change but seems like a decent game plan to start the season. I actually fully expect to see Greg Brown on the bench, if not this season than next. My educated guess is that Ruff is acting as a bridge from last year to this year and helping the three get the feel for how the league runs.

It’s Full Speed into the Game of Tomorrow

The NHL is a youth league now. The salary cap has forced teams to focus on younger players to fill out the roster as high end players’ salaries escalate. In order to find balance and stay competitive, young players who lack any kind of bargaining leverage until they reach UFA status around 27 are key. Their development is paramount to success.

This group commanding the Rangers are here for that and will ensure that young players are allowed to make mistakes with a reasonable amount of fear for repercussions on the ice. The other advantage is that the coaching staff will be learning with this young group and forming a lasting bond that can only be beneficial in the long run.

Lastly, Quinn and company will emphasize work ethic which is the key for any young team’s success. Youthful exuberance is a great way to counter rookie mistakes. Add to that the group’s vision for playing a very uptempo game on both sides of the puck with an emphasis on forechecking and this should be an exciting season.

The Rangers are rebuilding, there is no doubt of that anymore. They made all their picks at the draft, and they stayed out of the UFA fray. They’ve been mentioned in some trade talks but nothing has come of it. It’s all about the future in NY and this coaching staff will guide the Rangers ship into tomorrow.

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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