Sports

Rangers fire coach David Quinn with eye on experienced replacement

The tsunami that swept John Davidson and Jeff Gorton out of their executive offices last week has also claimed David Quinn as a victim, The Post has learned.

The head coach was dismissed on Wednesday by club president Chris Drury following a three-year run in which the 54-year-old Quinn compiled a record of 96-87-25 while charged with developing the Rangers robust youth movement. Sources report that assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown were also dismissed, while goaltending coach Benoit Allaire is being retained.

It is expected that Drury will replace Quinn with an experienced NHL head coach who will face a mandate to take the Blueshirts to the next level, and sooner rather than later.

Gerard Gallant, Rick Tocchet, Bob Hartley, John Tortorella, Mike Babcock and Patrick Roy are among the early candidates to follow Quinn, who came to New York three years ago after a successful stint behind the bench at Boston University.

Drury, of course, shares that college heritage with Quinn and was instrumental in his hiring three years ago. But this is not about sentiment, as former president Davidson and former GM Gorton well know.

Rangers fire David Quinn
The Rangers have fired head coach David Quinn.
Robert Sabo

Quinn was instrumental in the development of the cadre of impressive young Bluebloods that features Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren, Pavel Buchnevich and Kaapo Kakko. He presided over Alexis Lafreniere’s improvement through his freshman season and over the wrenching transfer in goal from the iconic Henrik Lundqvist to Igor Shesterkin.

But the Rangers too often seemed flat at the start of games and were unable to maintain a level of consistency through this unique season and were hammered three times within 12 days by the Islanders by an aggregate 13-1 margin when the playoffs were still in sight late in the season. 

As well, Quinn was unable to get his marquee players to buy in on the need to adopt a more straight-line approach when opponents such as the Islanders game-planned to take away their time and space.

His pleas for the club to adopt more of a shooting mentality never seemed to get through to the skilled players, who became increasingly stubborn this year in their quest to score picture-perfect goals.

One can make the case that Quinn, who has one year at $2.4 million per remaining on his contract, did exactly what he was brought here to do. That was to oversee Phase I of the rebuild before passing the baton to the coach who would then guide the team to championship contention.

Of course, Quinn, a man who is grounded in establishing personal relationships with his players and those around him, would hardly agree. One could make the case that he deserved another season — and one not so dramatically impacted by the pandemic as this one — with a roster that is expected to be fortified by additions of grit, muscle and north-south players that the coach has coveted.

John Davidson, Jeff Gorton and David Quinn were all fired by the Rangers over the past week.
John Davidson, Jeff Gorton and David Quinn were all fired by the Rangers over the past week.
AP

That was a case, however, Quinn was unable to make well enough to sway Drury. So it will be onto Head Coach No. 36 in franchise history who will attempt to become only the fourth one ever (following Lester Patrick, Frank Boucher and Mike Keenan) to win the Stanley Cup.

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