New Rangers coach David Quinn is a hockey lifer


Yesterday at a press conference, David Quinn was introduced by general manager Jeff Gorton as the New York Rangers 35th head coach in franchise history.

The 51-year old hockey lifer has been involved playing the game and coaching it since childhood. He played all four years at Boston University from ’84-87 and represented Team USA in 1986.

Unfortunately, when he tried out for the ’88 Olympic team, Quinn was diagnosed with Haemophilia B (Christmas Disease), a rare disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly. Forced to retire from the game, he discovered expensive medication to battle the disease and attempt a comeback as a professional.

After failing to make the ’92 Olympic team, ironically it was the Rangers who signed him to a pro contract in February that same year. He completed the remainder of the season with the AHL affiliate Binghamton Rangers before spending ’92-93 with the Cleveland Lumberjacks in the International Hockey League (IHL).

Following his retirement, Quinn began his coaching career as an assistant with Northeastern before joining the University of Nebraska-Omaha for six years. After spending time as a USA developmental coach, he returned to his alma mater as a assistant, helping guide the Terriers to a national title in 2009.

Before returning to become coach of Boston University in 2013 replacing legendary coach Jack Parker, he got his first head coaching position with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL in ’09 while with the Colorado Avalanche organization. He spent three seasons there before serving as a assistant on the Avalanche for ’12-13.

Following five successful seasons coaching his alma mater BU to a NCAA Runner-Up in the 2015 Championship Game along with two Regional Finals the last two years, he moves up to become the coach of the Rangers. His third position as a head coach.

A former defenseman who’s developed Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk, he will emphasize a attacking style from the defense out. That doesn’t mean only improving team defense which was a sore spot under former Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault the past two years. It also emphasizes using defensemen to transition the puck through the neutral zone and activate offensively which can make it harder on opponents to clear the zone.

In a rebuild with several young players, the Rangers must get back to harder working habits. If they are successful under Quinn, they’ll have a more sustained forecheck involving all five players during shifts. An area that disappeared from their game. In order for the team to have success, they must press the attack and have more puck possession in the offensive zone. A role reversal from what we saw recently.

All one has to do is watch how this year’s Disney story the Vegas Golden Knights play under Gerard Gallant. Every player has a defined role. He rolls four lines and plays three defense pairs in front of Conn Smythe frontrunner Marc-Andre Fleury. The way they use their skating and team speed attacking offensively and defensively has given opponents fits. Even the mighty Winnipeg Jets wore down losing in five in the Western Conference Final.

The Stanley Cup which starts on Memorial Day between the Caps and Knights in Vegas Monday night, should be very entertaining for fans of the sport. Nobody could’ve predicted this final.

You have Alexander Ovechkin playing the best hockey of his brilliant career with a more together Washington team that sacrifices to win in beating the Pens and stunning the Lightning in seven with a dominant 4-0 win on the road to make their first Cup appearance since 1998.

You have the expansion darling Golden Knights comprised of players 30 teams didn’t want led by William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith along with Fleury. It’s a fascinating match-up.

In many aspects, this is what Ranger fans want to see. How soon it happens remains to be seen. Quinn is a strong personality who wants to change the culture. Even after turning down the job multiple times, he changed his mind and decided to take on a big challenge. Now, he’ll have to prove he’s worth the $2.5 million per season the Rangers are paying him over the next five years. Listening to him speak, he sounds excited.

He should be. It’s not every day that a job like this becomes available. His familiarity with many of the young Blueshirts who played collegiately should come in handy. It’s all about developing the new core and improving.

With the welcome mat for Quinnsanity, a new era is upon us. The job starts right away.

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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