Drury Makes His Mark with Quinn Firing


Following the latest week of events, it only seemed like a matter of time until Quinn became the next victim of the Rangers’ purge. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Weeks of speculation came to an end on Wednesday when the Rangers fired Head Coach David Quinn after three seasons with the team. Quinn’s record was 96-90-25 including the playoffs in his stint with the Blueshirts. The 54-year-old Rhode Island native will now look for another job with a return to college certainly on the table. Considering the Rangers’ underperformance this season, the firing does not come as a terrible surprise. They placed fifth in the East Division this year, way below the fourth place Islanders, and sputtered against their in-state rival with their playoff lives on the line late in the season.

Quinn was hired due to his great success as the head coach of Boston University, where he and new GM Chris Drury both went to school. He racked up 105 wins in his five seasons with the Terriers including four tournament appearances and a championship game appearance in 2014-15. The questions began to rise during this season however, as a group of young players and two superstar forwards could not get it done against the top teams in the East. When James Dolan fired GM Jeff Gorton and President of Hockey Ops John Davidson last week, he mentioned the underperformance of the team, something that undoubtedly falls on the coach. 

As for the Rangers moving forward, there are many guys that could fill the hole Quinn leaves behind on the bench. Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien, Rick Tocchet, and Gerard Gellant are just a few. They, of course, could dip back into the college ranks, but after this unsuccessful stint that feels unlikely. And then there is the most interesting prospect of all, former Rangers coach John Tortorella. The Stanley Cup winning coach parted ways with the Blue Jackets last week after six seasons in Columbus and has quite the history with New York. In his five years between 2008-13, he made the playoffs four times and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. It was not until he left though that the Rangers got over the hump and won the Eastern Conference in 2014. 

The connection between Torts and the Rangers stems deeper though. Drury was the captain of the team for the first three seasons of his stint in New York, Additionally, Glen Sather, who made his reappearance at Drury’s introductory press conference, was the general manager. The issue many fans had with the management and coaching this season was the lack of tough guys to stick up for the youngsters. When it was time to fight against Tom Wilson and the Capitals, Brendan Smith, a pending free agent, challenged him. The teams that Sather, Tortorella, and Drury led had the likes of Colton Orr and Sean Avery to stick up for the goal scorers and young players. And while Brendon Prusts do not grow on trees, someone of that ilk would be a great addition to the team’s bottom six next season.

All of that said, I do not believe Tortorella will be hired in New York. The breakup was too messy, and he seems to be wearing out his welcome in the NHL by the year. Benoit Allaire was the only staff member kept from the David Quinn era. He has been with the team for over 15 years as the goalie coach and has never been called upon to be the head coach. It seems as though he will stay in that role again next season.  My current pick for the Rangers head coach is Claude Julien. He has Stanley Cup pedigree that will be sought after by all available openings and if the Rangers want him, they will undoubtedly pay him. This could change when new coaches get fired as the regular season winds down, but New York is the frontrunner.