Thoughts on healthy scratches

New coach David Quinn has certainly made his mark early on. By the third game, Kevin Shattenkirk was a healthy scratch. Neal Pionk has seen bench time. And now it looks like Pavel Buchnevich will be the next healthy scratch. The season isn’t even ten games old, and we are looking at a top pairing defenseman and potential star in the making already riding the pine for a game.

In a vacuum, neither scratch really means much. Remember, Dan Girardi rested a game in October once –with Alain Vigneault stating he would get him more rest– and then he played every game the rest of the season. It’s October, Quinn is figuring out his lineup. He will get to the 20 skaters he wants dressing regularly by the end of the month.

When looking at the big picture, there is cause for optimism from the scratches. Neither Shattenkirk nor Buchnevich have played well. It’s arguable that both deserve their time as healthy scratches. However no Ranger has been consistently good to start the season, and most have been downright bad. It’s a combination of a new coach, a new system, and quite frankly, a bad team.

The optimism, while caused by the appearance of accountability, is due to the lack of accountability during the Vigneault era. Any sign of accountability, be it an illusion, a passing fancy, or just a one time thing, is something fans are going to point to when it comes to Quinn. Here comes the new guy, and he is pulling no punches.

When the dust settles, and the starting 20 is more or less solidified, that is when we will see what Quinn is made of. Will he scratch Marc Staal if his bad play continues? Will he continue to give Tony DeAngelo benching treatment? What will he do if Neal Pionk figures it out? What will he do if Pionk and DeAngelo start outplaying Staal, Smith, Frederik Claesson, etc? Will the veterans still play? Or will a difficult decision be made?

Will Quinn be a breath of fresh air? Or will he be like the rest of the ole boys club?

"Thoughts on healthy scratches", 3 out of 5 based on 10 ratings.

69 thoughts on “Thoughts on healthy scratches

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Buchnevich stronger, but still not strong enough to be winning puck battles.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 6:20 am

    5 games in and over 90% of the Ranger fan base already knows about Quinn as a coach, that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. For me, yet to be determined.

    But sitting Pionk when the coach says that he will play a lot of hockey, indicates to me that sitting out a game or two doesn’t mean a damned thing.

    Relax. It’s not like this season is about winning games.

    But the one criticism I have is don’t say that the young guys are going to play their natural center positions and then go against that. How about, don’t say anything, and let the circumstances play out on their own, as far as player deployment is concerned.

    Ranger brass has always had an inability to keep their mouths shut. Dolan proclaiming that big stars were coming here for this season over 6 months ago, is example #1.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Its really not about Quinn directly. It’s about management as a whole. I don’t have a problem with any player sitting. I don’t have a problem with rebuilding and am not expecting wins. In fact, I’ve said in the past that the narrative that NY fans won’t tolerate a rebuild is patently false.

      The issue that many of us have, and some have expressed it better than I at times at the other BSB, is the wishy-washy say this do that, that is continually being exhibitied. The narrative went from “We’re benching Shattenkirk cause his play is bad” to suddenly: “Well he’s coming off an injury and we want to take it slow.” “We want our centers to develop as centers, so we’re sending Lias to play big minutes in Hartford”, to: “Well I control ice time and Chytil isn’t getting ice time as a center, so lets play him on wing.”

      The organizational plan, from the end of the Ottawa series to today is SCREAMING there is no plan. They are throwing shit at the wall and hoping something sticks. The moves and decision-making of the front office caused a rebuild, not the players. Were they good enough to win a Stanley Cup? We’ll never know the final answer, but was it likely? Probably not. The continued decision-making talent evaluation of the Front Office of the New York Rangers organization, that is spearheading this rebuild, has left a lot to be desired.
      Them: “We’re rebuilding!”
      Me: “Great, lets do it right.”
      Them: “Lets trade draft assets to acquire Adam McQuaid and play him on the 1st pair!”
      Me: “Wait, what?”

      The other issue is the inane and mental gymnastics people are doing over David Quinn. He might be a perfectly average NHL coach. But the fanboy jock sniffing praise of everything he’s doing is boderline psychotic. “He’s called a timeout!, look at that AV would never do that!” “It’s ok to bench this player, he’s told him why!” “Look at him yell in practice!” “Things are instantly better!” He’s most likely an average NHL coach. Ultimately they have minimal influence on the outcome of a team. The GM has a far greater influence on the ultimate outcome of this team, and I’m sorry. I am not optomistic about Jeff Gorton. He has displayed the same “good ol’ hockey men” train of thought that exhibits front offices. To be good you have to less stupid things than the teams around you. Jeff is doing an equal amount of stupid things, sprinkled in with some stupidier things. The belieft that he’s just doing stupid things right now because “Screw it, it doesn’t matter this year” and will suddenly do smart things when it matters would be to suggest that he has a split personality and can turn on a dime. Doing dumb things now when it doesn’t matter suggests that when it matters, he will do…..dumb things.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        I completely understand where you come from. However, no Org. makes perfect decisions at all times. I, personally hope you are wrong! Again, I can’t be sure, but I can hope, otherwise, what do I have but bitterness like you?

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

        John, I know exactly what you’re saying. I have said many times throughout this process, “is it or isn’t it?” a rebuild?

        The Rangers say it is and then have stiffs like McLeod, McQuaid, and Staal in the line up. Even Spooner and Names are blocking young players or limiting their playing time.

        Chytil not getting enough ice time? So do something about it, lol. He needs to be on the PP, not Spooner.

        And I don’t have a problem with the sittings. It’s 6 games in for God’s sakes. Quinn is drawing a line in the sand and making this team his own, for good or for bad. That’s what he was brought in for. I like him, so far.

        • Oct 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

          I’m waiting for the true sell off – trade deadline. Thats when we will all know the true intentions of Rangers brass.

          • Oct 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm

            Agreed. Then you will know the plan. If Hayes and/or Zuc are still here in March, then the rebuild was a sham.

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm

        I’ve watched all 6 games. The effort is there. Our Rangers play hard every game. That is the coach, period. I’m not ready to nit pick the coach for sitting a player or even questioning his decisions at this point in the season. All I can ask is for the team to work hard and play hard. They’re doing that! You’re totally over thinking the situation. You’re acting like Don Lemon of CNN.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:37 am


      Maybe it’s a way of getting the young guys attention by playing them out of position? If one can’t do the job in his natural position, but can excel at the other, nothing wrong with that IMHO!!

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

        I have no problem with it my friend.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Buch being a healthy scratch is a different though. There’s a logjam at defense, meanwhile everybody knows there’s not many top 6 wingers. I think this is to really wake Buch up, Quinn obviously doesn’t like his effort.

      I think Chytil or some rookie was always going to spend some time on someone’s flank. It’s not about handing out free rewards due to one’s pedigree. They were going never going to move a vet top 6 center on the wing. I think this will do Chytil some good, he sounds excited to play there.

      Btw, when did the management ever say that some big fishes were coming over? Did you mean Dolan and the Knicks? They been open about this retool/rebuild. I never heard anything coming from his mouth unless if it was to trash McD and subliminal shots about a good captain.

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 6:40 am

        Dolan had an interview with Brooks after the infamous “letter” and proclaimed that stars were coming. It was loud and clear at the time, but now Dolan is MIA, like he usually is after putting his foot into his mouth.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      I am glad Quinn is tinkering – this is the year to do it.

      He is obviously looking for the best 20 to go forward with this year, but I also believe Quinn is taking the long view on his current roster, as he should be. Whether they know it or not, most of these guys (Hayes, Vlad, Vesey, Zib, Spponer, even Buch) are really auditioning for NEXT year.

      I said before that this year’s trade deadline is more important than last year’s. Last year was about just jettisoning dead weight and getting younger. This year there are good to decent trade chips (above + Zucc, McQuad, etc) on the big team, depth at Hartford, and we have a glut of centers and two D-man who can’t be sent down.

      This deadline should be about clearing the center and D-man log jam and getting more #1 picks to parlay into Hughes lottery picks.

      As for Buch – I expected more but everyone is still feeling there way through the Quinn era. I am OK with him sitting except that I don’t see McLeod as an upgrade (for anyone who sits).

      It seems to be that the last Rangers line that really jelled was Gilbert, Hadfield & Ratelle. So in that vein, I say keep tinkering until you find something that works. I would like to see Buch with Vladdy and Chytil although we seem to also have a lot RW’s as well. Buch with Howden could be interesting. And lets not give up on Buch until we see Kravtsof…

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 6:42 am

        Yeah, I have no problem with the tinkering at all, but it needs to be understood that tinkering brings inconsistency in the play on the ice.

        Fans still want them to do what it takes to win games now, but I want them to do what it takes to win the Cup soon into the near future.

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        ^^ BAM ^^

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 6:28 am

    it may just be me but I find “potential star” very pretty aggressive terminology . and I think its part of the problem here. that blogs, not just here, build him up to be something that he increasingly likely isn’t. this does a disservice to the player and fans.

    to be more specific I think most nyr fans would sign up for 20/40 from buch – which even that is almost 20 points off his current high water mark. is that really ‘star’ numbers today?

    with all the high picks coming in , there is obviously limited room in the top 6. so they don’t really have an eternity to figure out what buch is or isn’t. and this slow start isn’t helping things (or maybe it is?)

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Buch is one of those 40+ player’s that we’re all hoping can become a regular 55-65 point player. He’s joined in by Kreider, Hayes and Zib.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Buchnevich, who had a nice pre-season, hasn’t played well the last couple of games. Nothing wrong with the coach giving him a time out to collect his thoughts and work on some stuff. He is no longer a raw rookie desperately in need of ice time.

    On the other hand, DeAngelo and Pionk need that time. I’d really like the coach to figure out how to play them instead of aging veterans whose skills are diminishing. Guys like McQuaid, Staal and McLeod should be in the press box much more than DeAngelo Pionk, Claesson, Leittierri. etc.

    However it is early and I suppose there are reasons for the moves made thus far.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:38 am

    You bench players who are not making a strong effort or are not meeting their potential. Clear message to Buch, Shatty and Pionk. Staal on the other hand is playing just like you would expect, so no benching necessary.

    As mentioned above, this is a teaching year, not a winning year. Our top line can all use a day off sooner or later, as does Hayes and Zucc. I highly doubt we hang any banners from the rafters this year, so use these games all as teachable moments.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Teaching year? Ok. But, why then, is Lias down in Hartford? What’s he learning down there? The seventh overall pick getting slammed by half assed goons in the AHL, probably has a bullseye on his chest. So let’s teach Spooner, McLeod, Vesey, Lettieri (who I like, but really?) how to play in a rebuilding year, and let Andersson get his Gordie Howe hat tricks in Hartford.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 9:03 am

        Not bad points

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 9:09 am

        I think Lias is in the AHL because we have 4 or 5 centers above him. Let him learn in the AHL. The move of Chytil to the wing and the healthiness of Boo will determine when Lias comes back up. I still see Andersson here once we move some players out of the way.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 9:49 am

        Emile I read yesterday some comments by the Wolfpack coach that Lias was working hard on footwork and reviewing shift tapes with the coach, and working out in the weight room, putting in a lot of extra time. He said the kid has been playing well (and Lias has been scoring for the Pack) so, I think perhaps he is putting that time to good use. Maybe it isn’t a bad thing for him to spend some time there presently.

        I hate to say it, but maybe Chytil could use a little more development time with the Pack if Quinn cannot get him more minutes with the big club. I dunno.

        • Oct 16, 2018 at 9:58 am

          “if Quinn cannot get him more minutes with the big club. I dunno.”

          If only David Quinn knew someone who determined players ice time….

          • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

            Haha, maybe Quinn will finally meet that guy!

          • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

            That is F**king funny!!!!!!!!!!

        • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:37 am

          It’s not rocket science, Lias is down there because Howden is the better center.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        That is a fair assessment!

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm

        Lias has played very well so far this year. He’s getting development minutes he needs he won’t get in the NHL right now. Lias will make his splash after the trade deadline when the Rangers purge for assets.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      we are going to have two years of this………as mentioned before….trading deadline will bring a flurry of exits….

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:43 am

    When it comes to Buch, well the time has come for him to crap, or get off the pot. I like the kid but he seems disinterested at times, and goes thru the motions. If by sitting him down for a few games doesn’t get his attention, well maybe a stint in the AHL would be a great wake up call. Should that occur, Pavel would have no one but himself to be pissed off at!!!!!!!!!! This coach is breath of fresh air…….

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Buch = Hype

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

      KZB= wanna be top line. Buch is that important letter who can put up 40 something points like his linemates.

      I seriously hope that this can wake him up. I still view him as someone who has some great potential.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:47 am

        Lets hope Man…he has been here for a while now

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:47 am

    At the professional level, what options do you have to get a message across? Ice time and line movement or a trip to the AHL. Quinn and the Rangers will need to use all three options on many players, no matter what the name is on the back of the jersey.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:48 am

    As I suggested before the season began..there is 4 righty dmen in the lineup. Only one can be sent down without clearing waivers and that’s Poink.

    No young player is going to develop in the pressbox. So Poink gets sent down and DeAngelo stays up and plays a string of games to provide a legitimate chance to prove himself. If he doesn’t have what it takes the Rangers trade or waive him and bring up Poink, who playing big minutes on the farm will be primed and ready to go.

    Buch needs to show a bit more Moxy, but to his defence the veterans up top aren’t providing him with much leadership. This is the downside of tearing down to far, building back a team with a winning attitude can take years to reconstruct.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I think part of the problem is this site (and others) has a very lofty opinion of Buch for some reason. I think he’s a very good player, but I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of him as potentially great or elite.

    Great players bring it every single game. Elite players are a threat every time they’re on the ice, and very few of them have weaknesses on either side of the puck. Sorry, Buchnevich is not at that level.

    I don’t want to trash the kid. I like him a lot. But I think sites like these have unfairly hyped him up. I believe there are other prospects who have much higher ceilings now, and will push him into a middle-six role in about 1 season from now.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Buch = Artie I’m guessing he finds his stride at some point but likely in another city. Too bad his has some skill, he will never be a hard nose player though if that is what the Rangers are looking for from him best they move on now. In the right slot I think he could score 30 goals.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Gordies fault

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 11:19 am

      He does have 3 fighting majors.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Sitting Butch and playing a goon is similar to AV playing Glass and sitting Butch. Also benching young defensemen to playing Staal amd Mcwhoever is suspicious. If the coach is forced to play certain people that is one thing. If he is not forced to play the old guard that is something else. Then the front office is trying to dictate how this team will lose.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Plenty of good seats available in Sections 108 and 110 tonight…

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Ranger fans are something else…5 games in and the coach stinks….the rebuild stinks…..the MGT. stinks…heck…everything stinks…….Get used to it because this season will stink and IMO on purpose…….2020-21….that is the target season folks…..we will stink for the next two years…..get used to it for those that still long for those big free agents that we did not sign this year….

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm

        Im cool with it…we need to find out the dead wood on this team and ship them out

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        Even the stink stinks at stinking! 😀

        • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:22 pm


        • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

          Tanking is a great idea, but we all want our team to win. Most are showing effort, but losing is painful even when expected. Take it from a lifelong Jet fan.

          • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:42 pm

            Don’t feel sad…cause 2 out of 3 ain’t bad

        • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:05 pm

          Peter..I ask myself this: Would I rather have Vigneault or Tortorella back? No because they could not get us to the promise land…..I will give Quinn a few years…then if we still stink…then I will blame some of the people in this room and that I will not forgive….lol Don Corleone….GODFATHER PART 1…

          • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            Oh my stink comment was just playing on the multiple stinks in yours. 🙂

            I agree, I am going to give Quinn a long time to prove himself. He is learning to be a NHL coach while the young men he is coaching are learning to be NHL players.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Not a fan of Quinn’s impersonation of Tort’s and Vignealt’s worst traits (ie mind games). A rookie coach shouldn’t come into this league and pull this crap unless he is providing a ton of positiveness as well. This isn’t the ECAC and their 35 game schedule were a bunch of gritty ‘3rd/4th line like’ hockey players with limited scoring skills go all out 200ft on every shift. There will always be a balancing act with the better skilled prima donnas on a team and Quinn is walking a fine line in losing the locker room’s respect more sooner than later.

    Strolling Staal out there every night also blurs any message he is trying to send. I am sure Sheldon Keefe wasn’t going to be MSG’s puppet! Other than that I am happy with the Rangers overall effort to date! It makes you think Quinn is simply making these moves in order that he looks like a 1-4 Head Coach trying do to something.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Everyone needs to relax, this team could EASILY be 3-2 instead of 1-4 (not that it makes much of a difference). We all need to look at the bigger picture rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    I watched the Leafs defeat the Kings last night. I saw 21 year-old Auston Matthews, he of 10 goals already this season, absolutely undress Drew Doughty at the end of a rush and dish to Kapanen for an easy goal. I was admittedly quite jealous watching that team with their load of young talent.

    So, although I am very pleased with the good effort the Rangers have been giving every game thus far, if they continue to lose I won’t be up in arms. Getting several more talented youngsters at the trade deadline and in the next draft will just add to those already in the pipeline. I am all in for the rebuild.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      ….folks…..we have no choice but to trust the process….We Ranger fans, are all geniuses in our own minds starting with Richter1994…….I swear we could bring in the great ghost coaches of yesteryear and we would still complain. I know a few fans that would complain if we win the cup. I am way past the complaining being a Ranger fan for 50 years..

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 3:39 pm


      I couldn’t agree with anyone else but you, my thoughts for years was for a youth movement………….

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Sure, let’s get multiple picks in the top 5 for a few years along with the top pick in next year’s draft and we can be just like Toronto … or Chicago, or Pittsburgh — It’s a shame that the whole draft system comes down to rewarding teams for abysmal performances, that and the bounce of a ping pong ball behind closed doors.

      • Oct 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm

        I know right? It seems that in order to be really good, you have to really, really, really suck first!

        • Oct 16, 2018 at 7:54 pm

          Or take a swan dive like the Pens do when a great player is coming down the pike. Mario, Sid, just two examples of being rewarded for making the Olympic diving team!!!!!!!!!!

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I do however agree with Richter1994 on the roster.. The Rangers should have dumped all the veterans and started the season with mostly rookies and youngsters….If u are saying this is a rebuild..then rebuild with the young players…The vets do not like to be part of rebuilds except for Hank….who will play his heart out no matter how poorly the team in front of him plays…

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Think Jack as in Hughes not Daniels. Whining about things 5 games in just Njoy the season.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Looks like Detroit (so far) will get him … the NHL will never allow the ping pong ball to bounce our way.

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    The mental gymnastics the Rangers fanbase are using to try to justify Quinn’s approach so far really shocks me. Imagine if we used this type of pabulum to justify AV’s nonsense?

    If there was a consistent approach and process related to the scratching of Buch, I wouldn’t really care. It’s early. It is what it is. But there are other ways to get the message across to players. That the message is not getting across, and Quinn is resorting to scratching so frequently means that he’s completely out of his depths and lost. we also see it in the randomness of his practice lineups and then the complete u-turns he takes on game day. This is insane.

    I really do not blame him though. We’ve been having this debate for years now, where our HCs dish out punitive scratches and turn a blind eye to their favorites. Quinn can speak a good game about accountability, but there is zero reason for Shatt coming off a knee surgery and trying to find his game, to be scratched while Staal and McQuaid are out there (the left side of our defense in general has been a travesty). There is no reason on earth for Buch/Name to be scratched and be replaced by McLeod! Putting McLeod out there means you have a much less chance of actually winning the game as he provides nothing. Literally nothing. The only reason you put him out there is if you are actively trying to lose the game.

    These players are and were in the past on this team because the FO rates them. Gorton, Sather, etc, all think Staal is a good player. McQuaid is a good player in their eyes because we incredibly gave up actual assets to get him. These two idiots think McLeod is a good player. Similarly, the coaches that have been recently in charge of our team, both AV and now Quinn, share the same mindset. That is why we see this insanity right now and are trying to justify the unjustifiable.

    Stop focusing on Quinn. He’s irrelevant. This FO is the problem. They’ve been in place for years now and have blown the career of Hank with their nonsense approach to the sport of hockey. They somehow managed to trade in their prime with reasonable contracts Stepan/Raanta into a potential middle six center and a journeyman dman. They traded JTM/McD for spare parts (literally in the case of Name). We can go on and on analyzing their many mistakes. Quinn simply conforms to the worldview of the folks who created this flawed team and mismanaged organization the past half decade. Start with the FO.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm


      You make some very sound points, and I tend to agree with most of your post, but in the JTM, and Mac Truck deal, we got not only Name, but Howden, Hajek, and a number 1, and a number 2. Mac was dogging it towards the end, and JT is very streaky, while Howden is proving to be a talent, and Hajek will anchor our defense for years. Just my 2 cents on your post!!!!!!!!!

      • Oct 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

        I personally feel that you do not trade good players in their prime for spare parts. Name and JTM were largely framed as 1 for 1 with the rest of the return being for McD. Howden was projected as a lower six talent (although he’s looked excellent so far) and who knows about Hajek. Lets see, but it is a huge gamble to trade legtimate very good players for spare parts.

        And the thing with JTM is that he was leading our team in the boxcar stats while never playing PP or being on the best lines. He was always being jerked around by AV on the third and fourth lines or getting scratched. It was frankly ridiculous.

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Justify what? We’re 5 games into this guy’s tenure … AV was here for how many years?! lol

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      McQuaid was benched for tonights game…I would relax give this time

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    If we’re rebuilding and cleaning house …. clean it .. should be nothing buy My Yutes out there!

  • Oct 16, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Do the Rangers take a flyer on Montreal Canadian Jacob de La Rose Who is put on waivers today ? 23 year old 6-3 220lb Winger

    • Oct 16, 2018 at 7:56 pm


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