“I’m very curious to see what he takes from his experience with the Rangers and how he can become a better coach now in his second go-around. I think it really was a learning experience for him.”
That’s New York Rangers beat reporter Vince Mercogliano of USA Today, looking forward to what David Quinn does with the San Jose Sharks.
Sharks fans don’t seem to be as excited.
Quinn, most recently head coach of the Rangers from 2018-21, is set to replace Bob Boughner behind the Sharks’ bench. Quinn went 96-87-25 in the Big Apple, missing the playoffs in all three seasons.
He’ll be introduced to San Jose media this coming Tuesday morning.
San Jose Sharks fans are seeing shades of Boughner in Quinn: Boughner, like Quinn, flamed out in his first stint as an NHL head coach with the Florida Panthers, then couldn’t get the Sharks back into the playoffs in his two-and-a-half San Jose seasons.
Fans, of course, always want “the guy with the fresh ideas,” your Ryan Warsofsky or Spencer Carbery, who have no NHL head coaching experience but tremendous success below that rung – or your proven vet, your Gerard Gallant or Barry Trotz.
Quinn, of course, was once “the guy with the fresh ideas” when the Rangers hired him in May 2018.
So he wasn’t the next Jon Cooper. Not everybody can jump from a lower league to two Stanley Cup championships, two Final losses, and two Conference Finals losses, all in the span of just nine full seasons, like Cooper did.
GM Mike Grier’s hope, instead, is that Quinn can follow the path of Gallant or Craig Berube or Mike Sullivan or Claude Julien, head coaches who failed in their first (and sometimes, second) NHL stop before finding undeniable success behind the bench.
So what does Mercogliano think that Quinn has to learn this time around? Are Sharks fans justified in their lack of excitement about this hire?
I spoke with Mercogliano in a two-part series, and while his answers won’t reassure Sharks fans, it was a fascinating, balanced conversation that points to things that may make or break Quinn’s tenure with the San Jose Sharks.
In Part 1, I talk to Mercogliano about Quinn’s handling of the Rangers’ youth.
“I think sometimes he might have been a little too quick to penalize them or cut down on their ice time. It made some guys feel like they were walking on eggshells a little bit.” (Mercogliano, on Quinn’s reputation for benching young players quickly because of on-ice mistakes)
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