NY Rangers Midseason Grades: The Coaching

How have the coaches fared thus far this season?

Continuing with our midseason grades (top-sixbottom-sixdefense, goaltending), let’s take a look at the coaching. This is going to be a tough one, as in the past we’ve usually graded each coach individually. This year I’m going to do something a little different and grade them as a collective unit on a few different areas. Change is a good thing, right?

The System – Even Strength

Ok let’s get the easy one out of the way, and that’s the system. The Rangers play a passive 1-2-2 forecheck where F1 is in and F2/F3 are usually around the blue line/red line. Now this does change based on puck location and situation, such as forcing a turnover, but this has been what it’s looked like for the most part. That leave D1/D2 between the blue line and the top of the circle. This creates a situation where opponents gain speed through the neutral zone and are uncontested into the offensive zone. Naturally, this isn’t overly good, and leads to sustained pressure against.

That said, something has changed recently. It could be the execution, or it could just be a swapping of the defense pairs. But the Rangers have been significantly better over the past six weeks. This is something I need to look at a little more in depth, but something is clicking and the defensive effort has been significantly better. They’ve been trending up when it comes to limiting quality and quantity against, although that unfortunately coincided with a rough goaltending stretch. It’s tough to say if this is the norm going forward or just a blip.

It’s not all questions though, as the coaching staff has a steady and dangerous offense at even strength. Good coaches know to let their star players run the show, and that’s what they are doing. Kudos to them for backing off offensively. Would be nice if they shot the puck a wee bit more often though. Grade: C – but this grade could look foolish if the last six weeks is the norm.

Special Teams

The Rangers should be better on the powerplay. That’s a safe statement to make. The coaching staff has insisted on putting five righties on the top powerplay unit, basically shifting all attention to the left circle and shots from there. Naturally, this hasn’t worked at all. Even when they put a lefty (Chris Kreider) there, he’s in front of the net, so there’s no impact. A lefty on the right circle is needed to keep the defense honest about where shots are coming from. They’ve been galaxy braining this powerplay for far too long.

As for the penalty kill, they aren’t overly good, but that’s expected. I don’t think this is a coaching or a system thing though. I think it’s just they don’t have a good penalty kill unit to use consistently. That and they take far too many penalties. Grade: C+ – but should be better if they stop galaxy braining the top powerplay unit.

Development – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is the toughest area. You look at Filip Chytil, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Lindgren, and Brendan Lemieux, and you see good development and improvement. This quartet has earned their roles in the lineup, and have improved significantly since last season. I don’t think anyone would argue. These four represent the good.

Then we have to look at the bad. That would be Libor Hajek and Kaapo Kakko. Hajek, pre-injury, had been in a top pairing role in which he simply didn’t belong. He never improved, and he looked just downright awful in the process. He was never shifted down in the lineup to get easier matchups until he sprained his knee. As for Kakko, he’s had his struggles, but the constant juggling up and down the lineup isn’t helping. Plus benching him after a bad penalty when he’s having an otherwise good game is a bad look.

This brings us to the ugly. Lias Andersson and Vitali Kravtsov. I’m not going to go into the full details, I’ve done that already. There was a clear communication issue with these two players, and it led to some public disagreements. Andersson has requested a trade, but at least Kravtsov is back and looking to show he belongs with the Rangers. This is where the coaching staff appears to have failed, as communication and expectations were not clearly defined for these guys.

To grade the coaching staff on just the good or just the bad or just the ugly would be unfair. Factoring in all three makes it a challenging grade, and one that is probably going to get debated a bunch. Grade: C.

Gum Chewing

Not a single piece of gum in sight. Grade: A.

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  • Grade: D+ for development
    F for systems
    F for in-game tactics
    F for deployment

    This team should have five more wins based on the talent level of the offense alone. Ten more points puts NYR in playoff position. Quinn sucks.

  • Because DQ didn’t put Lias Andersson at 2C as BSB writers wanted, there’s no surprise they give DQ a “C” or less.
    I think DQ did a fine job in the 1st half of the season, the team and almost every player is playing hard for the coach every game, the players respond to DQ’s coaching and the effort is there. With a young and flawed personal, this team is still in the hunt for the playoff spot after half the season, this alone should give DQ and his coaching stuff at least a “B”.

    • Biggest problem with quinn is that h8s way of teaching is punishing player. Wrong. Need to study a mistake and have player work on it. Thats teaching. Benching isnt teaching. One of worst coaches for young players ever. Also poor with europeans. Need more rounded guy. Strict without teaching is bullshit

      • I don’t have any problems about benching, young players don’t know right or wrong if there’s no rewards and punishments. The only time a coach needs to be replaced is when players stop responding to him, or not playing hard for him, of course the win-lose column is very important. What I see is that the players are playing hard every night, the team is only 6 pts out of playoffs, and Fox, Lindgren ,DeAngelo, Strome, Chytil all play well. So I think DQ did a pretty OK job so far.

  • From Larry Brooks of the NYPOST:

    Kind of like an adolescent in the wake of a messy breakup, Lias Andersson has effectively advised club president John Davidson and the Rangers not to call him, he’ll call them if and when he’s ready.

    “I’ve called him, but haven’t talked to him. We’ve talked to the agent [Jarrett Bousquet] a lot. That seems to be the way he wants to do things at this point, which is fine,” Davidson told reporters before the Blueshirts practiced in advance of their flight to St. Louis for Saturday’s match against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

    • Well, the BSB writers are wrong again as they accused the NYR and JD “Don’t know how to communicate with younger players”.

  • No coach is perfect. Fans always give coaches far too much blame and also too much credit. It is easier to single out one person than an entire team.

    I am not happy with some aspects of Quinn’s coaching. I rather hate the defensive scheme that Quinn and Lindy have the team playing. Now, they have been better defensively recently, so the learning curve factor cannot be completely discounted. But, for the love of God can they have the forwards backcheck and the team contest zone entries? I also think that Brendan Smith is a defenseman who should be rotating with Marc Staal, not playing on the fourth line. The team needs to be more aggressive on the forecheck. Quinn seems to preach that, but then why can’t he get the team to do it? Finally, don’t sound so damn exasperated at the pressers as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders Quinn. Jeez

    Dave rightly points out that Quinn has had some success developing some of the young players. Tony DeAngelo is a far better player than he was when Quinn arrived. Buchnevich, despite having bad luck scoring goals, is better than he was, but needs more consistent effort. Filip Chytil is coming along nicely. Ryan Lindgren has weaknesses but is getting better. Adam Fox is quite good, but I am glad that Quinn is not giving him the Pionk treatment and playing him far more than he should. I think that Kappo Kakko was over coached for a while, and Quinn basically admitted to that. I don’t think Andersson got a fair shake, but the kid also did not perform well. Altogether, a C+ grade

    As far as Lindy Ruff is concerned, I would like to see someone who is not a dinosaur coaching the defense. I loved watching Lindy with the Sabers at the Aud in Buffalo when I was in college, but it is time for him to step down. D grade

  • Panarin, Zib, Fox, DeAngelo, and the goalies all mask the atrocious defensive play the Rangers have 5 on 5. If not for them, the Rangers would be planted firmly near the bottom of the league. So “A” to them and “D” to the coaches for 5 on 5 play.

    Howden, Smith, and Staal somehow get preferential treatment in a “meritocracy” even though their play does not warrant it, and players like Buch, Kakko, Anderson, and Krav somehow get the brunt of the coach’s wrath. Wonder what the first 3 players have in common and what the last 4 players have in common.

    “We give up too many shot attempts.” Ok, and? And? And? And?

    Wake up Ruff long enough to fire him.

    Development is not a priority when out the hill vets like Staal and Smith are in the line up. Put them in the press box, permanently. Let them beg for trades.

    IMO, DQ is totally over matched, should have stayed at the college level. The ingredients are there for a playoff berth but the cooking stinks. D+ grade from me, and that’s being generous.

    • Instead of being mad at me, be mad at the team, because everything I said in this post is 100% true.

      Reality sucks sometimes.

  • Our defense is terrible, yet this coach will play the same players all the time. he benches the kids to much. Forget the playoffs.
    makes some trades, fire ruff. yanking Kappo around is a symptom of a bigger problem DQ hasn’t improved himself or the team.
    with the talent we have, we should be in a better place by now.
    im no hockey guru

  • I’m just confused sometimes. Some nights they look great, others they look out of sync. Is it coaching, the system or just the fact they are the youngest team in the NHL. I can’t say I’m sold on Quinn but he is getting better. I’m seeing some adjustments on the fly that seems to be working. Are we a play-off team ….no…….but we are moving in the right direction.

  • Our coaching staff excluding Benny are 🤡🤡🤡 , agree on all points, particularly on developing youth, and rest was just expected…

    Hope they jump on Leviolette before dude is hired by different team

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