It is nice to see a head coach that makes the players accountable.
This is exactly the case when it comes to New York Rangers’ bench boss David Quinn. He is proving he is the boss by scratching defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for Thursday night’s tilt against the San Jose Sharks at Madison Square Garden.
This has been a long time coming for Shattenkirk. This is a guy that the team signed to a major deal in the summer of 2017 worth $26.6 million and so far, he is not living up to it.
Defensively, Shattenkirk has shown that he is a liability. He coughs up pucks, he is often out of position, and he does not know how to protect his goaltender (s).
The truth of the matter is that it has been this way since he joined the team last season. While I understand that Shattenkirk had a lot of pressure on him from the get-go considering it was a large contract and the fact that the Rangers are his hometown team, it does not excuse him from playing poorly.
What is good to see is that he acknowledged that this is a much-deserved move made by Quinn. He said the following to reporters following his team’s practice on October 9:
“I know that it’s a process, but this is probably a good little kick to get me going and get me out of this – I don’t want to say slump – but just get my confidence back and start playing the game I know I have.”
At $6.65 million a season, Shattenkirk has been extremely disappointing. When the Blueshirts signed him to his big UFA deal, they thought they were getting someone who could not only put up points but be someone who could play responsibly in his own end.
He clearly has not done the latter. This is something that Quinn told reporters on October 9th that noticed from the early going and that is why he decided to make this move:
“He and I have talked about playing with more urgency, and I think he’s still a little bit hesitant because of what happened last year. He’s got to get his confidence back. He’s going to have every chance to get his confidence back. This is a process. This isn’t a punishment.”
For the Rangers, their coaching staff and their fans, they all need to hope that Shattenkirk becomes the player that they all know he can be. If that does not happen, it will make it look like the Blueshirts wasted a ton of money that could have gone somewhere else.