There was no easing into things for the Rangers, whose first day of work featured a series of challenging, combative small-ice drills punctuated by the expressive David Quinn’s instructions and exhortations.
“It was about conditioning and it was about competing and obviously from a structural standpoint, D-zone coverage,” the freshman NHL coach out of Boston University said after running three split-squad sessions that lasted approximately 65 minutes apiece.
“Everybody talks about systems and whatnot, but this game inevitably turns into a one-on-on battle and you have to win one-on-one battles.”
Quinn, who noted the experience “felt like hockey camp,” said he had previously talked to the players about the mentality he and his staff intend to preach. “Relentless, fast and physical … some [other] words, but those were the highlighted ones.”
At one point during the day, he suggested his players could go through opponents if they’re in the way rather than around them. And if the coach was demonstrative on the ice, the team should get used to it. Laissez-faire no longer applies.
“That’s the only way I know how to do it,” Quinn said. “I coach enthusiastically.”
Quinn has one year of NHL experience as an assistant coach for the Avalanche during the 2012-13, 48-game season. He has three other years of pro experience as head coach of AHL Lake Erie.
His resume, however, is loaded with work at the collegiate and junior levels of USA Hockey. This was something new.
“Today was exciting, obviously,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said today wasn’t an exciting day for me. It was a pretty special day.”
The Blueshirts open preseason with a match in New Jersey on Monday.
Quinn said, at this point, he intends to be behind the bench for all six exhibitions but that the plan could change.
The conditional seventh-rounder in the deal for Adam McQuaid will go to Boston — in addition to Steven Kampfer and a fourth-rounder — if No. 54 plays 25 games for the Rangers or he is traded during the season.