David Quinn was introduced today by the San Jose Sharks as their new head coach.
Quinn was on the NHL Network on Tuesday and said:
- What did you learn from NY, “You are always managing players and when to lean on them and when to back off of them and obviously I felt really good about the job we were doing for two years, we were two points out of a playoff spot when the Pandemic hit. Even the last year, the third year, we had some adversity, but we were still hanging around and trying to make a playoff push, but it was clear what our intentions were.”
- “We acknowledged to the hockey world that we were going through a rebuild and I always say that if you really want to know what the intentions of an organization are, pay attention to what they are doing at the trade deadline and the first year we made trades at the deadline, the second year we were really in a playoff hunt and we traded Brady Skjei for a first round pick, which was part of the rebuild. My last year there we were hovering around a playoff spot and we didn’t do anything because we were $18.5 million dollars of dead cap money and we just weren’t in a situation to do it. To me, I thought we were doing things and going in the right direction and then, obviously, changes were made and that is part of pro sports. Unfortunately that can happen, but regardless of whether you lose a job or not you are always trying to learn from the previous season and it’s always a balancing act from a coaching standpoint when to lean on them and when to back off.
During his press conference, Quinn and Mike Grier said the following about Quinn’s time with the Rangers (Sharks):
- Grier on what made Quinn stand out as a candidate, “….I think he’s a better coach for that Rangers experience and we have some big personalities on our team and you look at the guys he had to deal with in New York, Panarin was third in the MVP balloting when he was coaching, Adam Fox won the Norris, Mika had his best season, up until maybe this year ended up passing it with his playoff performance, but he had his best season under Quinnny. He gets the most out of his best players, he knows how to manage his best players and he believes in some of the player development principles that I believe in. When I put it all together he was really the best choice for the job.”
- Grier on if he spoke with anyone from the Rangers about Quinn, “Of course I talked to those guys. Those conversations I had with Dru and management over there will stay private, but, yes, I talked to them about Quinny and they all had very good, positive things to say.”
- Quinn on the perception that he was tough on the younger Rangers, “I’ll be honest with you, that is the first I ever heard that. I’ve coached a lot of young players. I think if you want people to be better you have to be demanding but fair and that is kind of something that I’ve always tried to approach, my philosophy would be demanding but fair. I think back to my days at BU and I thought it was the right approach and if you look at the history of the players we had at BU and how they would leave BU and go play in the NHL. It was a similar approach in NY. To me, if we are doing our job you have to be demanding and this isn’t easy, it’s not an easy sport. I always kind of jokingly say that coaches are human nature fighters. You are going to ask people to fight human nature and when you’ve got 18-19 year old players and their set in their ways and the things they have done to get to the point that they are at are not necessarily the things they are going to do to continue to have success. It’s our job as coaches to let them realize that. Sometimes it can be a little bit shocking when you are asking them to do things they’ve never been asked to do before. I want to be demanding, but I also want to be fair and our players, I think, will feel that.”
- Grier on Quinn and the young Rangers, “Whether you are an 18-year old kid in the league or a 35-year old, accountability is for everyone. When you are in the dressing room as a player you know if someone is not being held to the same standard as everyone else. Like he said, he’s demanding, but fair. Some of the stuff that is out there about the Rangers stuff I don’t think is fair in that regard. I think if you look at the year Kakko had in his first year, I think he had maybe 15-16 goals which is pretty good for an 18-year old kid. It’s not your typical situation with the Rangers, a lot of these kids that were dropped in as first or second overall picks are going to really bad teams, they got dropped into situations with Panarin, Kreider, Zibanejad so their ice time and PP stuff all had to be earned, they weren’t given first line opportunities like a lot of kids who are first and second overall picks. I think David did a really good job of handling that and keeping everyone accountable and keeping the dressing room intact. If he had just started giving Kakko and Laff first line shifts and PP shifts without earning it, the Kreiders and Zibanejads of the world would not have been happy with him. I think he handled the situation of young players as well as he could have.”