Alex Geogiev in net against the Pens and other updates from the Rangers

David Quinn spoke on Monday after practice and said (NYR):

  • On the PP scoring lately, “I think there are ebbs and flows for PPs throughout a season. Sometimes you can’t explain why you are not scoring and sometimes you can’t explain why you are. Productive as we’ve been, I think there is an element of improvement that we need to have. Entries have to be a lot better, but we have been opportunistic and I’ll take the goals more than the picture. We have guys that are PP players so we anticipated having a pretty good PP coming into the season.”
  • On Mika Zibanejad’s status, “not a setback, kind of  status quo. We are thinking in the next day or two there will be more progress and be in a better position. Obviously won’t make the trip to Florida but we are hopeful he will be getting closer to getting back on the ice and back into the lineup.”
  • What is Zibanejad doing/not doing, “he’s getting a little rest, putting himself in a position that when he does come back he comes back and we are not going to do what we just went through where he gets out there, gets taken off the ice. When he does come back we want to make sure that it’s full steam ahead and he is in a position to get in the lineup sooner than later.”
  • Were you overly optimistic about his potential return, “no. I think some injuries are unpredictable and he has one that is a little unpredictable.”
  • How has the team been without Mika, “guys have elevated their game. I think it’s an opportunity for people to step up and take ownership of a role they are capable of doing. We’ve had some great goaltending, been opportunistic on the PP. We’ve played some good teams, some really good teams and gotten points in 5 of the last 6. That being said, I’m dying for him to come back.”
  • On Strome stepping up, “hes’ done a really good job taking advantage of the opportunity and that line has been productive offensively. This started last year from our end of it. I liked a lot of what he did last year, put himself in a psoition this year to assume more responsibility. He continues to take advantage of his opportunities. It’s not just the points, I like the way he is playing in all three zones. He’s a big reason why we have been able to withstand losing Mika.”
  • How much have you missed Mika on faceoffs, “it’s funny we’ve been doing a good job on faceoffs and last night, we might as well have not gone into the dot. I’ve never seen anything like it, just one of those nights. We had been 11th in the league and moving forward and now we are down to 21st..it was a beatdown on the dots last night. We are sitting there in our offensive zone and they are walking out of their zone. We were trying to alter our forecheck off of faceoff losses. They were winning so cleanly, there is only so much you can do because they have 5 by the line and we have three. It was really difficult for us to sustain any forecheck off a faceoff loss because they were just doing what they wanted to do. We worked on it, had Brad Richards there and we have to keep on it daily. Our centers have done a good job of working at it and our faceoff percentage has increased and then I felt we fell off a little bit. So we worked on it and will continue to do that.”
  • On having the young defensemen learn, “it’s just reminders, it’s what we did today, reminders of what we have to do defensively and defending the puck. We say this all the time, as important as your structure and system, at the end of the day you have to defend the puck. I think we have been giving teams too much room, too much time and space. Technically we are not doing the things we need to do 1-on-1 to be successful. There are a lot of different ways to defend the puck. Your size, Trouba is not going to defend the same way that Fox does, Trouba will probably be more physical getting into 1 on 1s where Fox has to be quicker, smarter, better stick positioning. Our guys need reminders to what they need to do as individuals to defend their 1-on-1s.”
  • Is age a factor with the defensemen, “I think age is always a factor, experience is a great tool at this level.”
  • How did Brady Skjei respond, “I thought Brady had a good solid night. I wasn’t surprised, I knew it was something he would respond to. It was a decent night for him.”
  • More on Skjei sitting the other night, “at the end of the day you want to put the guys that are playing well into the lineup. When Staalsie came back, I thought he deserved an opportunity and this was one of those situations where Brady was the guy who was going to be out. You don’t just bench a guy for a bad game, guys build up a nest and some sweat equity where, when you give guys opportunities. He plays a bad game but he played six good ones, so you let a guy play through a bad moment but there comes a time when enough is enough and handle it accordingly.”
  • On the conversations with Skjei, “those conversations are never easy, he’s such a likeable guy, we are all human beings and it makes it more difficult when it’s someone like Brady and Staalsie, these are guys you generally like but you have a job to do you and you have to have those conversations.”
  • On the lineup against Pitt, “still not sure up front but the D will be the same. Goalie will be Georgie.”
  • On Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox pairing, “pretty high level, those guys have done a good job. Lindgren has come in and really elevated his game. He’s done a really good job of getting us out of our end which is not something that gets talked about when describing Lindgren. Everyone talks about how competitive he was and how hard he was to play against and those things still hold true, but the thing I really like about his game is that when a puck gets below our goal line, he does a really good job getting us out of our end. The other thing, whenever he decides to do something, he does it. Even if it’s not the right thing, he’s doing it with conviction. That is one of the things we touched on today, one of the things where I think we get in trouble is we have to do something and that causes hesitation all throughout the ice. If I’m making the decision but make it half-heartedly, it makes it harder for the other guys on the ice to read off what I am doing. I think one of the things we have to get back to doing is making quicker decisions and when we make them, do them and if it’s wrong we will address it later but whatever decision you make, do it with conviction and it will make it easier for the other four guys on the ice.”
  • How do you think that pairing will do against the Pens, “they did a good job against Tampa and Nashville so I’m optimistic.”
  • Does it ever get old seeing guys get their first NHL goal, “no, it’s a lot of fun and it was a big time goal. For a guy who is known for his defensive play, to collect the puck and get it up that quickly, it’s a pretty special moment in a lot ways. It didn’t go off three shinpads and in, it went top shelf so it’s even more enjoyable.”
  • Did you like Fox in the 3-on-3, “yes, I think he did some good things, had some great moments for him.”
  • Do you practice 3-on-3, “we did earlier in the year…”
  • What is the trick for 3-on-3, “talent (big laugh) because that is legit pond hockey but there are some things you can, some scissoring, legal picks, some patience too because you don’t want to start the other team’s breakout but what inevitably happens is that you get a great chance and miss it and you are not in a position to be in a defensive structure and they got the other way. You watch any OT and that is what happens, you get a 2-on-1, they get a 2-on-1. Being patient is key, making sure you aren’t shooting wide to start a breakout. It really is the NHL version of pond hockey.”
  • Are some guys better than others at 3-on-3, “it’s probably more talent driven but based on matchups and speed and hockey sense and smarts, when I say talent there is a lot that that means, it’s not just skills. It’s speed, hockey intelligence, a lot of things that are tied to talent that are important 3-on-3.