New York Rangers head coach David Quinn spoke of expectations and excitement as the team prepares to begin training camp on Thursday.
In an open interview with The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello, Quinn spoke about a few different topics as the club gets ready to start training camp in Tarrytown, NY on Thursday with team physicals.
Quinn recognizes the hard decisions that unfolded to get the team to where it is today.
“There were still things to be done to put us in a situation where we want to build a team that’s going to compete for the Stanley Cup year in and year out. It’s going to take a little bit of time, so I think the moves we made this summer were just a continuation of what we’ve been doing the last year and a half.”
Quinn discussed the optimism of Rangerstown going into this season. He acknowledged that there is plenty to be excited about, but fans need “to look big picture and look at the full roster, not just at the additions we’ve made and the changes we’ve made.”
Age and inexperience then took center stage in the interview. The Blueshirts are loaded with young first and second-year players. It’s imperative that there is a balance between what to expect from each player and what the player can actually do every night.
“I think you can be too young, for sure. The key is, you can be young, but are you young in those critical positions? Down the middle for us right now, we’re young. Very young at the center position. We’re still young on the blue line in some ways,” Quinn told Carpiniello.
The age status of the club will give players plenty of opportunities to prove they can play with the club at the NHL level. Quinn has high hopes that the newer players with the sophomore returning players can fuse into a solid, competitive hockey team.
Some of the players who need to reach the next level are Filip Chytil, Brett Howden and Lias Andersson. The competition this year will be hard and these returning players need to take advantage of past experiences and bring it hard every day to practice.
The Obvious Answer
Quinn was asked the question that all coaches in the league are asked. What kind of a team do you want the Rangers to be?
He provided the status quo response.
“We want to be a fast physical team that gets in people’s faces and doesn’t sit back and makes life uncomfortable for the opponent. And I think every coach in the league wants that. You don’t ever hear a coach say, “I want my team to be slow and soft.”
An interview wouldn’t be complete without talking about the face of the franchise, Henrik Lundqvist.
Entering his 15th season, Hank’s future is always the topic being discussed.
“Hank’s obviously an elite goalie and people look at his age, and I’ve said this a lot last year, I think the guy still stays in phenomenal shape and played at an elite level for a while last year, “ Quinn told Carpiniello.
The head coach also recognized that his some circumstances caused Hank not to play at his best certain times throughout the season, something that Lundqvist himself spoke about. Quinn understands and looks forward to Henrik being here the next two seasons, helping Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin along the way.
One thing is certain as the season nears, Henrik will not be playing the 65-70 games he has grown accustomed to over his career.
Captain, My Captain
Quinn understands that the team needs a captain. That’s something that we don’t feel any pressure to do immediately. He feels the captain essentially will choose himself and the coaching staff will keep an eye for when that opportunity arrives.
This team enters the season unlike any in the past three years. A club with enthusiasm to possibly make a playoff run and improve team offensively that should be able to score more often and the hope that the struggles are now concluded.
All eyes will be on the team Sept. 18 at MSG for their first of six preseason games.