On a night where the Rangers should have had a game where they could have flexed their muscle against a team that hadn’t played in two weeks, they came out flat and uninspired. With the Devils being out of commission since January 31st, they were a prime opponent for the Rangers to build off tough yet highly competitive loses against Boston and it was a huge opportunity missed.
It’s easy to sit back and say they lost this game because they didn’t have their big gun in Artemi Panarin or their young defensive stud in K’Andre Miller but I don’t want to hear any of that. Every team in this league deals with injuries and every team has the same covid protocols and nonsense to deal with. That kind of stuff just is not a viable excuse to me at this point. With players like Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Kaapo Kakko offensively and Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and now Libor Hajek, whose filled in nicely, you should be able to beat the Devils. While it is also easy to cast blame at the players for not producing, the decisions made on the coaching side far too often have caused more harm than good in getting things flowing on the offensive side of the puck.
When you play a team that’s been off for a full two weeks and who had nearly twenty players on the covid list, that’s not just a game that you should win but one you’re supposed to win. Naturally though, Quinn’s group came out flat and somewhat uninspired to play. If it wasn’t for Igor Shesterkin the game would’ve been over in the first period. Shesty channeled his inner Henrik Lundqvist and kept the Blueshirts in a game they had no business being tied in.
When your team comes out consistently unready to play and uninspired it speaks to two things, poor coaching and poor leadership within the room. At some point this has to fall at the feet of the head coach.
This game falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach. Most will read this and find that to be an easy target to blame but the problem is, it’s not just one game for Quinn. It’s a culmination of his coaching or lack thereof. The goalie juggling to start the year even though it’s clear to anyone that’s watched a hockey game before that Igor Shesterkin the far and away starter, the constant line juggling, or changing up a powerplay setup that was one of the best in the leagues last year. There has been numerous eye raising moments that have begun snowball this season.
Glen Sather once said something that stuck with me “coaches have a shelf life” and while I didn’t agree with most things he said or did, he’s right on the money with this. We have seen far enough of Quinn to know that he’s no longer the right man to lead the New York Rangers.
When you have a mostly skill based team and you have your forwards playing dump and chase hockey the issue isn’t the players the issue is the coaching. You can not have a bunch of skill players and try and have them play like they’re third and fourth line grinders. If you listen to 30 On Broadway you know that we didn’t have the Rangers making the playoffs this season but they’re certainly not the 7th worst team in this division either. While injuries certainly play a part in a teams struggles, it’s up to the coach to lead his group those issues and Quinn has certainly missed the mark.
Gerard Gallant, you’ll love Broadway.