Regarding the Rangers, while awaiting the decision on David Quinn’s fate as head coach:
1. Chris Drury is not the type of individual to rush to judgement. The newly installed Blueshirts president and general manager conducted a Wolf Pack coaching search two years ago that took more than three months before he hired Kris Knoblauch to replace Keith McCambridge.
Obviously, the call on Quinn will not take as long. But as Drury mulls it over and weighs the pros and cons of sending Quinn into his fourth season behind the bench against the pros and cons of replacing him with one of the experienced candidates who will line up for the job if it becomes open, I’d just say that if the chief hockey executive is on the fence, then the tie should go to the incumbent.
But here is the caveat: If the choice is made to retain Quinn, Drury can’t start the season looking over the coach’s shoulder and poised to fire him if the team gets off to a 3-6-1 start. The Rangers cannot begin the season with a coaching watch. If Quinn keeps the gig, then it’s got to be his unless the bottom drops out. If that is not a factor in the decision, it certainly should be.
I do think Quinn needs to back off a little and give his players a bit more breathing room from behind the bench. There is no question the team was more relaxed when Knoblauch was running things (with Drury as an assistant) for those six games Quinn missed while on the COVID list. Substitute teacher syndrome? Maybe to an extent, but the coach who likes to be close to his players needs to give them some more space, certainly the veterans.
But again, I believe this complex decision is just this simple: Does Drury believe that Quinn is the coach to take the team to the next level? Part B: Does he have enough confidence in Quinn not to fire him three weeks into next season if the team stumbles out of the gate?