2019 Rangers Report Cards: The Assistant Coaches

With all players reviewed, and David Quinn’s report card done a month ago, it’s time to move on to the rest of the coaching staff. The Rangers had five assistant coaches in Greg Brown, David Oliver, Lindy Ruff, Benoit Allaire and Jerry Dineen. Focusing first on the assistant coaches, Oliver was in charge of the offense and powerplay, while Ruff and Brown split defensive responsibilities and the penalty kill. Allaire was obviously the goalie coach, and Dineen the video coach.

David Oliver

Oliver’s main job was to get the offense going with somewhat limited talent. The Rangers had just four actual scoring threats, a bunch of question marks, and then some rookies sprinkled in. Naturally with more ice time, Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, and Chris Kreider thrived. Mats Zuccarello figured it all out once he got out of his own head. It is worth noting that under Oliver, Zibanejad, the current and future 1C, had a standout year and took a huge step forward. That is no small feat and should not be overlooked.

In addition to Zibanejad taking the next step forward, Pavel Buchnevich really elevated his game, posting his first 20-goal season in just 64 games.

Aside from that, and Tony DeAngelo’s ten powerplay assists, there wasn’t much else on the roster. Jimmy Vesey broke 15 goals again. Ryan Strome shot 900% on his way to 18 goals. But that’s about it. Like I said, there wasn’t much for Oliver to work with.

In the end, the Rangers finished with 221 goals (23rd) and a 19.5% powerplay success rate (16th). I have to admit, that powerplay rate is better than I thought it would be. With only four established NHL top-six players, that’s…not bad. His true test will be how these guys develop and how the team generates offense with better players going forward.

Grade: B

Greg Brown / Lindy Ruff

At the risk of being incredibly biased, I’m lumping these two together and giving them the same grade. The defense was downright atrocious last season, allowing 267 goals (23rd) and a horrible 78.2% PK rate (27th). David Quinn put his new defensive system in, and after a long adjustment period some players adjusted nicely. Part of the horrid stench is on the players, since the roster put together wasn’t all that good. However there is a ton of blame on the stubborn coaches.

The biggest issue is the insistence that Marc Staal and Neal Pionk are not only a top pair, but a top penalty killing unit as well. It is no coincidence that the best stretch of the season was when Pionk was hurt and Staal played less. The use of the personnel available to them was just awful and borderline inexcusable.

Brown is equally at fault as Ruff, but I’d have to assume Ruff was the major player here. He needs to go.

Grade: Is there anything lower than an F? G? Q? L?

Benoit Allaire

Did you see the year Alex Georgiev had?

Grade: A

Jerry Dineen

I, for the life of me, have no idea what Dineen does other than the traditional definition of a video coach. Perhaps the best way to look at this is how the youngsters progressed. They are more sponges and absorb more lessons, or at least they should be. The only kids that didn’t get better as the year went on were Pionk and Brett Howden. So let’s put that on Dineen, ok? Ok.

Grade: C+, or INC. Whichever floats your boat.

"2019 Rangers Report Cards: The Assistant Coaches", 5 out of 5 based on 7 ratings.
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  1. All I know is that Benoit is God and Ruff needs to be “Schoen” the door.

    That is all.

    1. David Oliver is a really good coach and like Quinn , is a very good communicator to the players, do not know much about Brown but Oliver is a good one, Ruff needs to go, Sather’s fingerprints on that hire eh? no need for Ruff

  2. Like the two posts above, I’m of the opinion that Ruff has got to go, like yesterday!

    We did see improvements with the kids as the season progressed, but the bonehead idea that Staal is still an NHL d-man is just nuts. Management should sit him down and offer him a staff job for the next ten years to encourage him to retire. Doing so he could be recognized for what he did years ago, and he will be secure for years to come. Bottom line, they should never put Staal out there unless we have a 15 goal lead, or are down by 10!!!!!!!

    1. I think I see Staal supporters, now that is funny because he is a shell of the player he was before he lost his eyesight in one eye. Everyone on this site calls for the trade of Staal, but I guess there are some hold outs!!!!!!!

      1. I still believe he can handle 3rd pairing minutes if utilized properly. If we retained half salary I have to believe there’s a team out there that would welcome him into the fold at under $3m per — like Girardi the last couple of years in TB. I see him or Smith as salvageable/serviceable for the next two years, but not both —- and I think that’s the biggest issue here, we have too many 3rd pairing/7th d’men (add Pionk to that list, some will want to add Shattenkirk as well). Staal and Shattenkirk might be the better mentors, but Smith is much more versatile. Something has got to give here over the summer.

        1. We don’t need any more mentors, we need guys who can play defense. No more sentiment, he has got to go, where I don’t care, as long as he is gone. If you saw the Lightning against the Bluejackets during the PO’s you got to see how wonderful Girardi was, just like the cup finals for us vs LA!!!!!!!!!

          1. I don’t expect that we’re competing for the SC next year, making the playoffs will already be a somewhat daunting task (and I’m fine with that, for now) … and I’m not advocating keeping Staal around, or Smith or Shattenkirk or even Pionk. I would get rid of all of them if there were good deals out there (even mediocre ones to be honest). My point was simple though, the major issue is having all 4 of these guys playing back on d’, at a minimum two of them have to be moved and one of them has to be on left d’. Moving 3 of them would even be better. So I’m not advocating we keep Staal, not in the least. In fact he would be the first to go in my book because of his salary, followed by Shattenkirk and then Smith. Pionk is last only because he has a small shot at improving and he doesn’t cost us much.

            1. We need to make room for the kids, and the 3 S’s are in the way. I want to see Hajek, Rykov, and Lindgren if possible, and they are blocking it from happening. The PO’s aren’t of interest this coming season, but the following will be, and I’d love to see the kids get the experience. Besides Staal is the worst of the bunch because he is the least mobile, and the game is way too fast for him. That is the reason for the suggestion of seeing him retire, and get a staff job with the organization!!!!!!!!!!

              1. That would be great … and to be honest I would also like to see Hank retire with 1 year left on his contract (let Shesty marinate in Hartford a bit with a couple of call ups during the year, not to total 10 games played). Hell, I would like to see them jettison almost everyone around 30 and over. I have zero issues with “suffering” through another season, especially if Dallas signs Zucc and we get another 1st rounder for the 2020 draft. In my mind that’s the end of the rebuild for the most part, from there on out they need to evaluate, plus definitive holes and move forward

  3. Unfortunately, the fact that Ruff is still here might mean that he will be here when the season starts.

  4. Why lump Brown in with Ruff? Just curious, you really didn’t spell that out Dave.

    Also, I thought Howden played pretty well down the stretch when he returned from his injury. Sure though, he had a terribly rough patch from the 20 game mark through January. In the end he still produced 23 points like Chytil in 9 fewer games during his 1st pro season.

  5. Non-coaching question. How stupid would it be to go off the board with the #20 and take Foote? I don’t think he’ll be around at 49–probably gone between picks 30 and 35. If Afanasayev, Seider, Suzuki or Broberg are gone at 20–is Foote too much of a stretch?

      1. That’s what I was thinking. Foote could end up being a really good middle six power forward. Just not sure if taking him at 20 is stupid or smart, calculated risk considering we have the #2 already and could use more forwards.

    1. Seider would be good, despite the fact I want them to draft forwards with high ceilings.

      1. Seider would be good at 20, but I think he’ll be gone by then.

        The next tier down is like 25, so Rangers will be good whoever they get.

        1. Aye, I have a feeling he’s gone 15-17 … er but it’s a draft, so you never know 100%.

    2. Pretty stupid to grab(that early) a big guy whose skating is barely adequate for the WHL and his scoring rate for a guy his size is unremarkable.

      Probably be available in the 3rd, even then he’d be a stretch.

  6. You should upgrade Benoit’s grade. If there is a G,H,L for Ruff, then there hast to be something higher than BA’s ‘A’


    I don’t see mistakes like Ruff getting the Hartford job with the new boss….
    unreal how excited I am early June about Hockey… like Oh Baby pumped up!

  7. Staal Pionk was tanking in my lain sight, yet nobody sees it.

    Everybody else were put in roles to succeed and those two got thrown to the wolves.

  8. Zaizev has requested a trade from Toronto and Bob McK says Skinner and the Sabres are close to an extension

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