Coach of the Future
Being a coach has always been a bit more than simply outlining the X's and O's. As a coach, you need to have a personable character that can be strict and stern but also understanding and kind when the situation calls for it. Having the right balance will foster the perfect environment needed for players to thrive and compete at their best, which is essentially the goal of any coach. As a coach, you want your players to go out there day in and day out to fight for their teammates, their organization, and for you, their coach.
David Quinn, has these exact qualities. For a coach that's known to be very passionate and tends to scream during practices, Coach Quinn also has a compassionate side that allows him to calmly communicate with his players and staff when he needs to (a side that I'm not quite sure prior coach John Tortorella possessed).
In his teenage years, Quinn was an exceptional hockey player. Receiving full scholarships at the prestigious Kent School and later Boston University, Quinn was a highly skilled defenseman. He was selected 13th in the 1984 NHL Entry draft but opted to stay in college before playing in the NHL. However, he never ended up making it. After a number of blood-related internal injuries, the team doctor requested that Quinn be tested for hemophilia. The test results came back revealing that Quinn had factor IX deficiency, meaning he was positive for Hemophilia B. Normally it is not at all feasible for a high performing athlete, such as Quinn, to continue to receive the amount of physical punishment he was getting with hemophilia. But Quinn was not ready to give up. He stated, "My theory was I'd already survived 15 years of playing high-level sports" and had signed a waiver which released BU from any liability if something were to happen to him. It was not too long after this that Quinn suffered an ankle injury which spiraled into a massive bleed, to the point where surgery was needed. It was from this case that it became evident to Quinn that he could no longer pursue a career in hockey, or so he thought.
Quinn went on to coach as an assistant for the BU's junior varsity team to finish off his bachelors degree. Then, in 2013 he was hired by BU to head the coaching staff of the men's varsity team. 5 years later Quinn found himself with one trip to the NCAA National Championship game, 2 conference titles, and an offer from the New York Rangers, that he couldn't refuse.
This might be a hot take, but I believe Quinn has been put in one of the toughest situations, as a coach, in Rangers history. There is an immense amount of pressure put on Quinn by the front office and the fans, especially being in New York, one of the most cutthroat cities in the world. But this has been the case with every coach coming into the Big Apple. The difference here is the situation the NYR organization is in. We have shipped off almost all of our current talent and have invested heavily in our future. With Quinn playing a huge role, as coach, in the development of the younger players, he will be the first to blame if this extreme turnaround ends up not working. Not to mention he has never coached at the NHL level before, let alone New York.
So far, Quinn stepped up to the challenge and I believe he has done an impeccable job from what I expected. Yes, there have been periods where the team looks dead, heck even full games but it's a learning curve. Quinn's attitude in the face of defeat is something that reassures me that these dry spells are nothing to worry about. He is hard on himself, on his players, and does not shy away from admitting his mistakes. In terms of guiding our youth, Quinn could not have done a better job (barring Buch and Kakko :/ ). His tough love on players like Tony DeAngelo two years ago proved to be extremely beneficial as DeAngelo has been one of the Rangers best players this season. He has also helped players such as Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and Filip Chytil really blossom and emerge as some of the NHL's best youngsters. Quinn was also put in a very tough situation in terms of goaltending and although some might not agree with how he handled the situation, you cannot argue that it was handled extremely decisively and he really kept all parties happy and understanding of the situation. I do agree that Quinn still has a ton of work to do, but I think that he has done an impeccable job so far based on the situation he was put in 2 years ago. Quinn has a lot to do with the current success of the squad and will be an integral part of it for years to come.