Quinn embraces second chance as NHL coach with Sharks

It’s been the whirlwind of summer: preparations to rebuild his entire beach house, 22-going 23-round of golf, and a second chance to train in the NHL one year later, a year that nearly saw him go crazy after being sacked by the New York Rangers on May 12, 2021, After three seasons as a coach. That would have happened had he not handed the reins to the US men’s national team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and the 2022 IIHF World Championships.

“It was very strange,” Quinn said. “You can’t prepare for that. When you get to that level you will eventually get fired. You have to stay mentally strong and stay engaged. You always ask your team to be mentally strong and your players have to be mentally strong and I think the coach’s test is when you get fired. For the first time in your life.”

Now, though, he’s back.

The 56-year-old is sitting at a table by the ocean, the breeze blowing away the hair that seems to have added more salt. He grew up in the more urban Cranston, bordering Providence, but Quinn began evangelizing about the joys of Westerly, its location on the Amtrak line, its accessibility and its relative cheapness, at least compared to Cape Cod. It is convincing.

But, really, these are ideas for next summer. Because when Quinn will return – he hopes – after a successful comeback to the world of NHL coaching.

“Right now, you’re thinking about boot camp, you’re thinking about staff meetings, you’re thinking about the challenges ahead,” Quinn said. “Like I’ve had it for 30 years, other than one year, last year.”

At that moment, in early September, Quinn had just spent four days in San Jose, heading out for his introductory press conference, and touring some of the rentals on Santana Row.

And he won’t get much time in the Bay Area to start the season, with a training camp cut short by the Sharks participating in the 2022 NHL World Series, playing an exhibition in Berlin and two regular games against the Nashville Predators in Prague on October 7-8. From there, the Sharks spend a week at home before returning on the road, to the East Coast for four games, including returning to Madison Square Garden for a game against Rangers in October. 20.

It should provide a long bonding time for the sharks and their new trainer.

“We either love each other or hate each other,” Quinn said.

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When Mike Greer called, everything seemed to come together. Greer has always had respect for Quinn, the job he did as a coach at Boston University, and the way he treated players like Jack Eichel And the Charlie McAvoy And the Clayton KeelerIncluding how he held them accountable.

“It didn’t matter if I was a star player or not, he would have done what was best for the group,” said Grier, the former NHL striker who was appointed as San Jose’s general manager on July 5. that stuck with me, and that I admired.”

So when Greer started talking to the sharks, he asked Quinn a question: If I got this job, would you be interested in coming with me?

Quinn said he would definitely do it.

When it closed after the official interview process and Quinn was hired on July 26, the new coach went to work. Needing staff, he hired Scott Gordon, who coached the New York Islanders for three seasons (2008-11) and the Philadelphia Flyers in 2018-19, and Ryan Warsofsky, who won the Calder Cup last season as coach for the Chicago NHL.

He set out on a tour of eastern Canada, where he visited the shark players Logan Couture in Toronto and Eric Carlson in Ottawa and Mark Edward Vlasic in Montreal. He understands that the past three seasons, when San Jose missed the Stanley Cup playoffs after hitting 14 of the previous 15 seasons, were unacceptable.

“It was fast and furious,” Quinn said. “But I think we’re in a great place.”

He is not alone.

“So far we’ve had good conversations,” Forward Thomas Hertle He said. “Especially with us, there are a lot of changes, a new coach, a new general manager, a lot of people around us have changed even in the office. It seems like I’ve never been here because there are so many changes.

“But I’m looking forward to it. I think we’ve had good conversations, like I already know what he wants to play and do and I hope everything will work out.”

This does not mean that Quinn will not face his challenges. Many of them will. He will go through this season without a defensive man Brent Burns, who was an integral part of the Sharks squad for the past 11 seasons before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on July 13. This highlights Karlsson, easily the most important player on the team, who is finally in good health after the defender missed 79 games in his first four seasons at San Jose.

It’s the Sharks that need to take offensive moves after finishing 30th in the NHL with an average of 2.57 goals per game last season. The strength game was 22 percent with 19. San Jose goal is a question with James Reimer And the Kapo Kahkkonen Competition for job #1.

Quinn needs all of them to be better at getting the sharks anywhere near the playoffs. He said he needs 3 percent more, up and down the lineup.

It is a long request.

He said, “Yes.” “He. She he is long request. This is why training is hard.”

Laugh.

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It’s the third season in New York that Quinn looks down on with some regret. Relieved to emerge from a 2019-20 season cut short by the pandemic, the Rangers ran into the Stanley Cup playoffs in the midst of rebuilding, despite being wracked by the Hurricanes in three games.

But the third season did not go as planned. New York finished fifth in its eight-team league and missed the playoffs. Quinn was abandoned.

“There were things I wish I had done differently,” he said. “I thought I walked away from what I was 28 years ago as a coach.”

Quinn had already reevaluated, and was thinking about how to change his approach, and what changes he would make in his fourth season, when Rangers made their decision.

“You have to trust your team,” he says now. “You have to trust your players.”

Video: David Quinn when he became the head coach of Sharks

He thinks he wants to do it so well and so much that he exaggerates it. I overtrained. It wasn’t something he had done before, in his estimation.

“I have moments that I am proud of and moments that I regret,” he said. “You wish you had some errands, that’s for sure.”

There is one position in particular that nibbles on.

“This guy is probably my biggest regret in coaching,” Quinn said.

He wouldn’t say much more, given that the player is still in the NHL. But it’s easy to see that he was still teased, that it affected the way he intended to train and interact in the future with the sharks.

“Listen, I trusted my intuition and it got me this far,” he said. “I must remain confident in my intuition. That is what I have learned more than anything else. You have asked me what I have learned: This is the first thing I have learned. My instincts.”

Greer sees the same thing.

“I think he learned a lot,” he said. “I think he learned a lot about managing players. How do we hold players to account, things like that. Being in New York, it’s not an easy place to train. There’s a lot of criticism and heat to put up with when things don’t go well.” I think that helped him grow.”

Which brings me to now. He felt he was back to himself by coaching the Olympic team that finished fifth in Beijing, and the world championship team that finished fourth. He felt relieved, new affirmation, and at the same time, a face-to-face moment wondering why he wasn’t trained that way in New York that third season.

“This hasn’t been a lifelong problem,” Quinn said. “That’s not what I’m doing. I don’t train too much. I don’t know if circumstances played a role in that or what. I can just feel it. I knew the situation, I thought we could do a playoff here.”

“I don’t have to do things I haven’t done before.”

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The past few years have proven seismic in Quinn’s life. He left the college ranks for Rangers in 2018 after five seasons at BU. He got married two years ago for the first time. He’s got three adult children, and while the hours haven’t changed, there’s another person who has to take into account his decisions these days.

So the past five years have been…

“Entertaining,” you enter.

Not that he stayed anywhere for long. The six seasons he spent as an assistant at the University of Nebraska-Omaha represented the longest time he spent somewhere. Doesn’t necessarily like movement – who does? – But he accepted it, especially at the NHL level.

“When I left BU, I knew I was going to be fired,” Quinn said. “That’s just the reality of the situation.”

This is his next chance, a chance to prove that the work he did in New York was a job well done. That he could succeed in the NHL, and that anything that went awry was fixable, and could be corrected. He would have to suffer through the New England Patriots at 10 am and fear that one day, for some reason, he will likely be fired again.

So how will Greer judge Quinn, at least to begin with?

“It’s the vision of the ice how we deal with the culture. Is the culture being built? Is it a good vibe in the building, how do we treat each other, how do we work with each other, how do we deal with ‘re-games, how do we eat, how do we work?'” ‘ said Greer. ‘On the ice, do we compete every night? Are we playing hard? Do we play fast? Are we not selfish? Are we good colleagues?”

Nothing is certain. Despite this, Quinn is thrilled to have the opportunity to try.

“I feel ready for this next challenge,” Quinn said. “I’m excited for this next challenge. I’m 56. I don’t feel like it. I’m just as excited today as I was when I took my first job at Northeastern 30 years ago at 26.”

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