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",