Rangers Roundup: Coaching search, World Championships, and more

By Anthony Scultore
Chris Drury at the draft (Getty Images)

The New York Rangers relieved David Quinn of his coaching duties and started their coaching search in earnest. Chris Drury really didn’t have a choice with the mandate coming from James Dolan to win now. He simply couldn’t take the risk of Quinn coming slow out of the gate or meandering through the season.

By all accounts, Quinn appeared to get favorable reviews from his players. The younger Rangers were particularly complimentary. Adam Fox and Alexis Lafrenière sang Quinn’s praises but the veterans like Mika Zibanejad seemed a little more indifferent. That was probably enough to seal his fate.

When the Rangers President and GM released a statement on the coaching change he wrote:

“I would like to thank David Quinn, David Oliver, Jacques Martin, and Greg Brown for all of their efforts and dedication to the Rangers. I wish each of them the best in their future endeavors. We will begin our search for a new head coach immediately.”

And just like that, Drury put upon himself the most important decision of the Blueshirts future. This choice can’t miss. If it does, the results could be absolutely catastrophic. Regardless of Dolan’s patience, the Rangers were on a good path, taking all the right steps in a natural progression. It just wasn’t moving fast enough for the owner’s liking.

Rangers coaching search
Nov 2, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant argues a call during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

So the word is out that the next bench boss will be an experienced one and having coached in big games. Names on the list so far are Gerard Gallant and John Tortorella. Both are considered leading candidates. Rick Tocchet is being bandied about as are Claude Julien and Bruce Boudreau. Mike Babcock has come up, but Forever Blueshirts has learned that the interest is mostly one-sided from Babcock’s camp.

There is one wild card that’s being discussed and it is Rod Brind’Amour who has yet to sign an extension with the Hurricanes. The biggest issue for the Rangers is timing, can they afford to wait until late June for him? If the Canes get knocked out in the first round – great! Interview him. But do you want to run the risk of available-now candidates being taken up by all the other coaching vacancies out there? Especially since many believe he will stay in Carolina anyway.

The coaching search is on. So is the pressure… squarely on Drury’s shoulders.

Rangers at the World Championships

Many Blueshirts are heading home and not participating in the World Championships. Artemi Panarin already told Russia he would not participate. Alexis Lafrenière and K’Andre Miller turned down invitations to go home. Same for Mika Zibanejad. A report out Russia said the Rangers medical staff ruled out Igor Shesterkin and Pavel Buchnevich from participating.

However, there are several Rangers who will play. Filip Chytil and Libor Hajek will suit up for the Czechs. Zac Jones, Kevin Rooney, and Colin Blackwell for USA and Adam Huska for Slovakia.

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