Following the last few games, there have been very loud calls to fire coach David Quinn. The Rangers are 2-3-1 in February, but the four losses have been in a row. With each loss, the calls to fire Quinn have been louder and more frequent. Most of these are just gut reactions, but some do bring up valid points. As per usual, I have some thoughts.
1. I get the frustration, I really do. This season hasn’t been what most expected. Results are one thing, but the inconsistent effort is concerning. Last night is a good example, as the Rangers really had no reason to no-show the first period. They turned it on in the final two periods, but that first period was inexcusable. Effort is on both players and coaches.
2. David Quin n is far from perfect, and I am in no way a DQ stan. I’ve had some concerns about his systems in the past. This year I’ve had concerns about how his message is received in the locker room, as the execution wasn’t nearly as consistent as it should have been. His inability to “find players on the bench” is also frustrating.
3. That said, the team is significantly better this year than last. They are miles better defensively, and the offensive process hasn’t suffered either. There were concerns the Rangers were sacrificing offense for better defense, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. They aren’t dumping and chasing more (which leads to less offense, generally), per Corey Sznajder:
It's hard to tell with a team like them because Panarin is that good, but most of the important forwards like to carry (except Kreider).
— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) February 17, 2021
It’s hard to get anything going offensively when your best center (Mika Zibanejad) is more snake bitten than Severus Snape. Artemi Panarin is hurt. The team fired Tony DeAngelo into the sun, but he wasn’t producing anyway. Repeat production from that trio was a key to the season, and it hasn’t happened.
4. DQ has also done some good. Pavel Buchnevich is having a solid season and has rounded out his game to killing penalties too. Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko look great, but can’t seem to buy a goal. K’Andre Miller, Adam Fox, and Ryan Lindgren have all played well. It’s also not a given that their puck luck changes, even with a new coach.
5. Usually a coaching change midseason like this is to put a spark in the veterans that are underachieving. This would, at least on the surface, make sense since it’s the vets that aren’t performing. However when Panarin is hurt, Zibanejad is speculated to have lingering COVID effects, and Ryan Strome can’t even hit an empty net, you have to wonder how much of that is coaching.
6. That doesn’t mean Quinn is absolved of any blame. He deserves a lot. It’s also very unclear whether he is the guy to get them over the hump. His in-game decision making and deployment is questionable. We’ve all yelled at the tv screen a lot, wondering why Brett Howden is out there with a minute left and down a goal. It’s very similar to the days of complaining about Marc Staal and Nick Holden out there to defend a lead in the playoffs. There are valid concerns regarding Quinn, as Suit has pointed out.
7. All this is to say: If you’re going to yell to fire Quinn, that’s fine. But let’s also take a step back to discuss this. When I started this blog 12+ years ago, I wanted to ensure there was coherent and logical discussion in the comments. We’ve gotten away from that. I posed this question on Twitter, and I want logical, thought out answers from you all (or at least the ones that are here regularly):
- If you want the Rangers to fire David Quinn, who would you replace him with?
- What immediate impact do you think firing him will have on the team?
- Why do you want him gone? Cite specific examples.
- Should this be done immediately, or at the end of the season?
Emotions get the best of all of us. Let’s channel it into actual discussion about why you think the Rangers should fire David Quinn.