NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers are going to put special emphasis on defense going forward.
That’s one of the main reasons why they hired David Quinn.
Quinn was formally introduced Thursday as the 35th head coach in Rangers history, taking over for Alain Vigneault, who was fired at the end of the regular season after a five-year run.
“I like to think I’m fair and demanding,” Quinn said.
The Rangers will need him to be after they struggled this season to find a cohesive defensive formula. The Blueshirts’ play in their own end was a big reason why they missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. They allowed 268 goals, 28th in the NHL and 48 more than last season.
In addition, New York is in the throes of a rebuild after being big sellers at last season’s trade deadline. Working with a lot of young players should be right in Quinn’s wheelhouse, given his five-year run at Boston University, where he preached responsibility in the defensive zone.
“As we went through this process, we met with a number of people and talked to a lot of good hockey people, and it just kept coming back to David as the guy we wanted,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said.
Quinn said only the perfect situation could have lured him away from Boston University, once of the best programs in NCAA Division I.
“The more that we talked, the more Jeff and I and [assistant GM] Chris [Drury] talked, it just seemed like a natural fit,” Quinn said. “I’m 52 years old and at this point in my life, to be the head coach of the New York Rangers was an opportunity I could not pass up. Everything just aligned from where they’re at as an organization.
“This was a hard decision because of my passion and love for Boston University,” Quinn added. “It was an incredible opportunity for five years.”
Quinn, who was once a highly touted defenseman as a player, coached BU to four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons, including a trip to the national title game in 2015. He spent the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season as an assistant on Joe Sacco’s staff with the Colorado Avalanche.
The retooling Rangers are the latest team to dip into the college ranks for a coach after the Philadelphia Flyers hired Dave Hakstol from North Dakota in 2015 and the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery from the University of Denver in early May. Before Hakstol, it had been 28 years since a coach made the jump from the NCAA to the NHL.
Quinn’s success developing players at the college level should come in handy when he enters his first training camp with the Rangers, as they will have at least 10 players on the ice that have gone through the college system, including star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
“At the end of the day, this is about coming to the rink every day, making every individual better and making the team better. Winning and losing will take care of itself,” Quinn said.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)