New York Rangers’ David Quinn needs to trust his young players in tough times of a game if they are going to gain the much-needed experience to win close games.
The New York Rangers were trailing 2-1 late in the third period of Saturday’s afternoon matinee against the Edmonton Oilers.
The team had pulled Henrik Lundqvist for an extra attacker and head coach David Quinn, looking for his second straight win, put six players on the ice he felt could get the job done.
Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes, and Kevin Shattenkirk. These were the six players Quinn choose to put on the ice as the team was down one goal.
These players have scored a total of four goals this season. Out of the six that Quinn decided to put on the ice, Zibanejad was the only one who deserved to be on the ice in that situation.
This is the season of the rebuild.
The new head coach, who has a reputation of giving his younger, inexperienced players opportunities to shine in tough spots, failed in this opportunity to show the team and the fans that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.
In another one-goal game, the fourth in five games this season (as the Buffalo game was 3-1 with an empty net goal against), Quinn left his best players who could tie the game on the bench.
Why was Pavel Buchnevich (2 goals), Brett Howden (2), Brady Skjei (1), Filip Chytil (1 ), Ryan Spooner (1) on the bench watching the final minute run down? This was a time to tell the team that the best players will be at at the most critical time of the game.
Seven goals scored by this group of Rangers and they were all watching from the bench.
The team as a whole has only scored 12 goals in their five games. Five of those goals came in one game, the 8-5 loss to Carolina last Sunday.
The coach needs to play the hot hand, which he failed to do on Saturday at the most important time in the season for the club. A 2-3 record is so much better than a 1-4 record. It may only be a one win difference, but the confidence that comes with a two-game winning streak is so important to this young team.
The hottest player on the Rangers right now is Brett Howden. The kid is skating with confidence, has a great scoring touch and is a reliable center. He was recently moved off the fourth line to get him more minutes, yet he was not in the spot that he was made to play in.
Ryan Spooner, who has been used on the point on power plays, should have been out there along with defenseman Brady Skjei since both have the ability to get their shots on goal through traffic.
Filip Chytil deserved the chance to be on the ice in the close game. He has done everything the Rangers have asked and more this season. The forward is fearless in the corners. He can take a hit and still make a big play and can score when the chance presents itself.
The biggest surprise on Saturday had to be seeing Pavel Buchnevich on the bench during the most critical time of the game. The winger has played probably the best hockey in his young career in just five games this season.
Getting power play time, skating fast and hard as he creates scoring chances for himself and the teammates on his line, Buchnevich has shown a scoring touch the team has been looking for since he arrived three years ago.
The team is expected to compete in most games, but the expectations are that they won’t win a lot of games this season. That may be very true, but when the team has an opportunity to tie or win a game late shouldn’t the best five or six players be on the ice at the key moment of a game?
Put one in the loss column for David Quinn.