Game #18: David Quinn’s explanations make no sense following frustrating loss at Panthers

I’m past the point of having patience. A lot of what David Quinn says is hogwash. He did it again following a extremely frustrating 4-3 loss at the Panthers.

Forget about how well Artemiy Panarin, Ryan Strome and Jesper Fast played. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care that Panarin extended his career best point streak to 11 with a goal and assist. He’s a great player. For that, he deserves all the accolades he receives. He’s up to 23 points (9-14-23) in 18 games. Doing it with Strome (goal) and Fast (assist). He doesn’t need Mika Zibanejad.

Tony DeAngelo also scored on a play set up from Panarin and Greg McKegg. Yes. The Keg Man played well. That speaks volumes. He got the ice time that Lias Andersson never will ever get as long as he’s a Ranger. I’m done. I’ve had it with Quinn’s excuses. Here’s what he said about why he went with three lines and double shifted the top one.

It’s baloney! The second line had a bad game. Filip Chytil wasn’t as effective tonight and Pavel Buchnevich frustrated me to no end with how long it takes him to shoot the puck. Right now, he’s a one trick pony. The 13 assists look nice on the stat sheet, but there’s no way he should only have two goals. Two goals in 18 games for a guy who they gave a decent raise to following his strong finish last year, is unacceptable. Maybe if he was more instinctive like Alexei Kovalev, he wouldn’t be such an enigma.

The fact that this crack committee continues to roll out Brett Howden shift after shift despite his four points (2-2-4) and stone hands is an insult to every fan who roots for this team. What does he do so well for those 15 minutes? He can skate. He wins a few draws. But he is not offensive minded enough to warrant the loyalty Quinn gives him while treating Andersson as if he’s a bad Swedish meatball. Greg McKegg played and was effective even getting an assist and hitting a goalpost.

So, you can have your say. I’m also sick of Henrik Lundqvist yelling at some of his much younger teammates following plays. Adam Fox was a bit tentative on one defensive shift. It happens and will continue to with such a young roster. Particularly on the defense that includes Fox, Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren and DeAngelo, who deserves to be re-signed before his price escalates further.

Lundqvist is not the same great goalie he was. I wish some of this fanbase woke up and realized it. He hasn’t had a shutout in over two years. He isn’t as fast laterally anymore. Otherwise, he gets over and squeaks a pad on the Evgenii Dadonov goal. He had a pair for Florida, who took advantage of early foolish penalties from Buchnevich and Micheal Haley. The Rangers penalty kill is taking it on the chin. That’s seven power play goals allowed in two consecutive losses.

The backbreaking goal in a predictably wide open game where defense was optional was when Lundqvist somehow allowed Ranger killer Brett Connolly to beat him through the wickets to tie the game at three. That was a brutal one to allow at that stage because the Panarin line was absolutely dominating play. There are zero excuses for Lundqvist not making that critical save. No matter what MSG lackey Joe Micheletti says. It’s almost as bad as Chico Resch was with Martin Brodeur. Everything is a deflection or funny bounce.

I’m not pinning it on Lundqvist either. There was way too much running around. Florida did the same thing, but Sergei Bobrovsky woke up after allowing a dreadful goal to Panarin on a very weak shot. In the third, the two-time Vezina winner remembered that he gets paid a lot of money. His best save came on DeAngelo, who looked skyward afterwards. There were others including a weird sequence where he got a pad on a tough low shot and spun around because he had no idea where the puck was. It was Dominik Hasek like.

To the Panthers credit, they defended better when they had to in the third period to get the win. I thought it would wind up 5-4 even before the team’s combined for four goals in a wild first. But things settled down somewhat.

What I really am down on is how Quinn is handling the bench. Brady Skjei continues to look lost. He can skate and shows some of it on rushes, but defensively, it’s lacking. He might become a good trade candidate once K’Andre Miller arrives next year. They have both Lindgren and Libor Hajek for the other two left D spots.
Why not look to dump the salary and free up space to re-sign Strome, who does almost everything well despite the false narrative? Unless they’re getting a good prospect and first round pick, I’d like to keep him. It doesn’t have to be long-term either. Three years at say $4.75 million AAV is likely.

The last thing you want this team to become is too predictable. They can’t be one dimensional. You need good character guys with a combination of skill and grit who are willing to mix it up. I see that in the versatile Strome, who is trusted in every situation, along with DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux. They can all be kept if the organization isn’t clueless.

What is discouraging is the way they continue to butcher Andersson. Either play him and see what he can do or free him from jail. He must feel like he’s in Siberia. Kevin Shattenkirk did. So did Manny Malhotra. It’s a Malhotra redux and it’s supposed to be a “Rebuild.” Unbelievable.

You cannot make this stuff up. I got nothing else to add. The next game isn’t until Wednesday against the Caps. That should be cute. I am not gonna waste anymore energy on tonight. It is what it is.

Battle Of Hudson 3 🌟

3rd 🌟 Evgenii Dadonov, Panthers (2 goals helping my fantasy team, good player)

2nd 🌟 David Quinn, Rangers (for treating this game like it was the Stanley Cup, who cares about development)

1st 🌟 Artemiy Panarin, Rangers (9th of season plus 🍎, a remarkable player who sees everything on the ice and makes everyone better)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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