A baffled David Quinn has been unable to find the right line combinations as the New York Rangers have dropped five consecutive games.
The New York Rangers continue to look for the right line combinations to jump-start the team. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, the obvious confusion originates from the coaching staff and is resulting in lost points in the standings.
Following another lackluster game on Tuesday night, a 3-2 OT loss, the coaching staff still has plenty of unanswered questions surrounding the 12 on-ice forwards.
Tuesday’s line combinations managed just 19 shots on goal, three in the third period.
David Quinn’s decisions surrounding playing time, along with the players he is depending on, have become suspect early in this season.
Jesper Fast was promoted to the first line as a reward for his hard work this season. Quinn called Fast “a model teammate” who “never takes a day off, physically and mentally,” as was reported by Rangers beat reporter Vince Z. Mercogliano.
Fast is a good hockey player, but would not be considered a goal scorer. He is more of a defensive player who happens to be one of the team’s best penalty-killers. Fast is not a name many would associate with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad when looking for a goal late in the third period of a tied game.
Right-winger Brendan Smith, who has played on the wing for all seven games this season, seems to be Quinn’s favorite go-to player.
Quinn had Smith start on the fourth line on Tuesday night, and as the game went deep into the third period, Smith was one of the eight players the coaching staff rotated as the team looked for the winning goal.
“Watched” is the keyword, as Kakko had three shifts with 1:37 of ice time and Andersson had three shifts, 1:57 of ice time, as the game approached the five minutes mark in the third period of Tuesday’s loss.
What happened to play the kids to gain experience and confidence? In a matter of a few weeks, this team has gone from worrying about the future of the team and player development to win-now.
A win-now attitude, while Quinn continues to keep Andersson on the fourth line, has no idea how to use Kakko and has proven he has very little faith in the bottom-six forwards as he continues to utilize Smith in a valuable forward spot.
A 2-6 start is bad enough, but the look of confusion and frustration shown by the players is more of a concern than the final score.