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2020-21 Rangers

What David Quinn said about leadership, Lafreniere and more

David Quinn met with the media on the first day of training camp and said (NYR):

  • On improvements he wanted to see last year and what he wants to see this year, “I thought that as the season went we certainly got better in the D-zone situation. From what our analytics tell us, over the last 20-30 games we were in the top-1o in a lot of defensive categories that we weren’t anywhere near in the beginning of the season. Obviously, when the season ended we weren’t where we needed to be from a defensive standpoint, but I thought we were trending in the right direction. The 6-7 week stretch we had from January 7th on and not at least play better defense and I thought we did, we found a good balance of offense and defense, we don’t have to sacrifice offense to play good defense. We did find that balance. Our PK was inconsistent, there were stretches where we were good, but when we were bad, we were bad. One of the things we have to do on the PK is avoid those games where we give up 3-4 goals or stretches where we are killing at 65-70% and that killed us. Our consistency on the kill has not been good and it’s an area we certainly have to continue to work on to get better at.”

  • What are your thoughts on the captaincy, “we continue to evaluate that situation. It’s something that has been talked an awful lot about since I’ve been here and it’s a topic that people want to talk about. It’s an organizational decision and something that we take very seriously. There are candidates we feel we have on the team, but right now we are going to see where we are at and, at the right time, name a captain.”
  • On Alexis Lafreniere, “I really haven’t seen him live here, other than a few skates here. We did have lunch and I can report that he has good table manners and knows how to order food properly, but one of the things that I love about him as an athlete is, not only does he have world class skill, but the way he approaches the game. There are a lot of characteristics that you need to be a great player, talent is one of them and he certainly has that, but the way he carries himself, his work ethic, determination, I think gives him a chance to be a real special player.”
  • How do the circumstances of this season impact Lafreniere, “one of the things we focus on with our players is, come here, work hard and be the best player you can possibly be. Some players are able to adapt to this league quicker than others and obviously it’s a difficult league for an 18-year old no matter where you’ve been picked, where you have played or talent that they have. He’s going to have every opportunity to take advantage of the skills he has. He’s been an elite player for a long time, I expect him to come in here and work hard and earn everything he gets.”
  • On the players and Covid protocols, “there is certainly a lot of self-policing in this situation. We have all the resources here to put them in a position to have them work in a safe environment. Jim Ramsay has done an incredible job of managing the situation. It’s been a very difficult 9-10 month stretch for everybody, especially for people in pro sports who are trying to allow their teams to participate, stay healthy and be successful. It’s an incredible balancing act and he has done a phenomenal job, he and his staff but the onus really falls on the players when they leave here. They are only here for three hours, so there is only so much that we can do here and for the next 21-hours they are on their own and have to make good, rational decisions and understand that every decision that they make needs to be to put them in the best position to stay Covid free and start and finish the season. There certainly is a lot of self-responsibility in this situation.”
  • On the coaches wearing masks on the bench, “I think it’s the right move under these circumstances. It’s safe and if it helps a little bit, we should all do it. Our staff is embracing it, our organization is embracing it and we are just going to have to manage it. When you are the head coach you are communicating and constantly talking about lines and who is up and so it might be more difficult in our sport than the others, but we just have to make it work.”
  • On the importance of exhibition games and not having them this year, “the two scrimmages we are going to set are game-like environments and we are going to play at 7PM will go a long way in preparation and evaluation. Obviously, having Jacques on staff, we feel very fortunate to replace Lindy with Jacques, he has a wealth of experience, been very successful as a head coach. Coming from Pitt and being on a staff that has won two Stanley Cups, he will be a great resource for all of us in the organization. It will give us all a game-like feel, but we will be on different benches, but just going through game day prep will help us as a staff.”
  • Do you know where Howden and Barron will start, “I’ve mentioned that last year we had an awful lot of uncertainty, this year we don’t have as much, but there are some moving parts. I think we are going to try things out, put one guy with two players and then change it up, just to get a better feel. Tomorrow we aren’t going to have Mika, so I’m going to put Howden with Buchnevich and Kreider, just because I don’t want to disrupt the other lines and then maybe put Barron in that position the next day and switch those two position-wise. Not having Mika here changes things a little bit, but I think early on we will mix and match a little bit with some lines just to see what it looks like.”
  • What will be the most challenging aspects for you, “I think managing the limited number of practices you have, preparation, keeping people fresh and also in great shape, that will be a challenge for a lot of people. The condensed training camp and not having a lot of time is going to be a challenge for  everybody. We feel fortunate that we do have continuity with some of our lines, a lot of our defensemen back from last year, the pairings will change a little bit, but we feel as a staff that there is more stability now and not the big turnover and a lot of question makes we had last year. I really believe that it’s getting off to a good start, you can’t dig yourself a hole. Avoid those losing streaks. It’s going to be pivotal for everybody.”
  • On replacing the Staal, Fast, Lundqvist leadership, “I think sometimes that when you have people who have been here for a long time, like Hank, Staal and Fast, those guys were so instrumental in a lot of great success here within our organization. They had such a great presence in the locker room, but sometimes when they move on, it gives people an opportunity to step forward and really grab hold of that leadership role. Sometimes people are a little more reluctant to maybe take on a leadership role because you have those types of personalities here, so I think it’s going to fall upon some of the guys in their mid-20s, the veterans we have here, to take advantage of the opportunity to grab a leadership role and maybe we will have more leadership throughout the roster because of it.”
  • On moving DeAngelo or Fox to the left side, “we are going to do that. We are going to start Tony on the left side with Trouba. I think they both have the ability to do that, Tony and I talked about it last year, we talked about it this year and he will play the left side with Trouba to start. We think these guys are skilled and athletic enough to handle that transition.”
  • Where will Lafreniere slot in, “He will start with Chytil and Gauthier and I would warn everybody to look at last year’s training camp and look at the lines when we started. I’m not 100% sold on anything, this is certainly just the beginning. There are a lot of reasons why we do what we do, but that is how we are going to start.”
  • Who replaces DeAngelo on the right side, “Smitty has been able to do it, Bitetto can do it, Miller can do it. Tomorrow, I think Johnson is playing with Smith on the right side.”