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Game 4: NYR-SJ, Quinn establishing high bar as the standard in New York

October 10, 2018, 11:33 PM ET [228 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers return to action Thursday night against the Sharks. After three days off and 72+ hours of licking their wounds following a third period collapse and 8-5 loss to the Hurricanes, New York faces a San Jose team fresh off an 8-2 win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Following Thursday's contest, the Blueshirts face the Oilers at home Saturday afternoon.

Coach David Quinn shifted the lines and defensive pairings in practice after the loss. The trios order below may be tweaked in terms of which is the first line etc., but marked alterations from Sunday's contest:




Buchnevich-Zibanejad-Fast
Kreider-Howden-Zuccarello
Vesey-Hayes-Spooner
Namestnikov-Chytil-Lettieri

Fast is moved up, providing that defensive ballast and rewarding him for his solid play to date. Buch moves from right to left, and as you will hear Quinn say in the clip below, the shift is to allow him to use his left shot from the same side as opposed to playing on his backhand. Howden and Kreider are two power forwards with Zucc the disher. Vesey was very good again Sunday while Hayes rebounded from his benching and Spooner has been up-and-down this year but gets a chance with that duo. Nam was better Sunday, but still needs to show more. I am unsure how much Chytil benefits from fourth line duty, though skating with Lettieri, who has shown a willingness to shoot should give him chances for some points.

Skjei-McQuaid
Claesson-Smith
Staal-DeAngelo

Shattenkirk-Pionk

Pionk as a possible scratch:



Quinn tweaked the duos again Wednesday. Brady Skjei remained with Adam McQuaid, but Fredrik Claesson replaced Neal Pionk, who might be a healthy scratch, along with Kevin Shattenkirk. Pionk didn't play particularly well over the weekend, seen in his poor advanced metrics and own-zone play, though pairing with Marc Staal did him little favor. I have no issue scratching him to get Claesson in and have him watch from the press box. Marc Staal is paired with Tony DeAngelo and it will be interesting to see what his metrics look like after this contest.

PP Lines tweaked as well with 'Kirk out:



ADA up to top line with Zucc while Chytil moves down to the second unit. Howden should be in front of the net on that unit, like Kreider on the first group.

David Quinn after practice:



Some of the more interesting comments from the 8:23 press conference and Dan Rosen's column on NHL.com:

"I'm not doing it to be the big, tough coach," Quinn said. "It's more like, 'Listen, if we're going to have the success we're capable of having, this is the bar and this is what's expected.' Holding people accountable is a coach's No. 1 responsibility.

"This is how I've done it my whole life. It's not like I'm coming in here changing the way I've coached. This is just how I've done it."


Hayes and Shattenkirk each talked about Quinn's ability to communicate with players and hold them accountable immediately after the Rangers announced him as the new coach May 24. There's tangible proof of it now, but Hayes said it's been going on since training camp began.

"No one is really safe," said Hayes, who was benched for 11:25 straight in the second period and the final 6:49 of the third in Buffalo on Saturday. "Everyone has to play well to get their ice time here. It's a fresh face and he has his way of doing things. I think what he does is great. He doesn't let guys have days off."

Quinn, though, is respectful of the tightrope he's walking between holding his players accountable and having veterans turn on him for going too far. That's why he insists on having open lines of communication between coaches and players.

Hayes and Shattenkirk said they initially didn't know why they were being benched in the games last weekend. But following the games they each had separate meetings with Quinn, with assistant Lindy Ruff in on the meeting with Shattenkirk.

Their voices were heard. There were no blurry lines after those meetings, each said.

"When you do stuff like that there's got to be clarity and there's got to be explanations," Quinn said. "At the end of the day, accountability and performance are what this is all about. That's coaching, in my opinion, holding people accountable but also understanding people have built up a bank account too. You don't just bench guys for every mistake, but to me the piece to it that is non-negotiable is effort. If the mistakes are made because of the lack of all-out effort then I don't care what your bank account is, you'll be held accountable."

"It's about consistent effort and raising the bar."


If anyone can read the above, including how he and Ruff met with Hayes and Shattenkirk to explain why they were benched, and listen to what Quinn said and still question his methods, then you will never be satisfied. He is establishing a baseline and following through on holding players accountable. A lack of effort will not be tolerated. Quinn will treat everyone fairly, but not equally, but if you don't give the right effort, then it's pine time.

We all yearned for this the past few seasons. Now that it's happening, people are complaining. Ignore the record, as difficult as that may be. Focus on what Quinn is attempting to implement and build. If the structure can be laid from the ground up, eventually, the wins will come. Pain and struggles may occur for now, but the long-term gain hopefully will be worth it. The goal now is to remediate the mistakes we have seen early this season and have the system become second nature, so players can just react without thinking first and know where to go instinctively. This will take a while, which i think we all expected. But at 0-3, some have forgotten that would be the case.

I like what I have heard from Quinn. He gets a pass early on as he establishes this baseline. As long as the communication lines remain open and the team responds to his teaching, then there shouldn't be any issues. Focus on the future, not on the present, as difficult as that may be.

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