Phil Posted September 28, 2018 Share Posted September 28, 2018 Single-game samples are incomplete at best and deceitful at worst, and make that doubly so for the preseason. But when David Quinn and his coaching staff look at the video of last night?s game, he?s going to see Marc Staal spending an awful lot of time in the defensive zone. The veteran defenseman got absolutely buried by the Islanders? top line, allowing 14 shot attempts against at five-on-five while the Rangers generated just two themselves. Certainly, this is not all Staal?s fault. Kevin Shattenkirk had moments where it was clear he is still working to get to game speed, while three forwards are on the ice who contribute to the defensive side as well. But Staal himself still did not look good, and in fact he has struggled throughout the preseason. His numbers don?t look great, save for some good shifts against a handful of Devils? teenagers and AHLers. He also made a mess that resulted in a goal once Taylor Hall hit the ice. Three preseason games is just that; three preseason games. But that?s the sample size the Rangers? coaching staff has to work with right now. While someone like Kevin Shattenkirk who is coming off an injury, or Mats Zuccarello who has proven himself season-after-season, would get the benefit of the doubt, Staal has earned none. There were many arguments in Staal?s favor that, rightly or wrongly, offered Alain Vigneault plausible deniability. He had been a key part of the defense when the Rangers contended, and the coaching staff trusted him in important games. They were trying to win immediately, and besides, there were no defensemen in the ranks who could step in. All of that is gone now. The coaching staff is brand new (save for sophomore Lindy Ruff), and Staal holds no nostalgic appeal to them. While the team will certainly try to win every time it steps on the ice, the coaches know they are building towards something bigger than whatever happens in October or November of 2018. Like any head coach - really, any person no matter his/her job - David Quinn is going to make bad decisions. He?s going to appeal to experience, or emotion, or just straight up make a wrong evaluation. However, he also has the mental fortitude and desire to make decisions that might make other coaches queasy. Staal?s presence in the opening night lineup would hardly be a surprise, but if he continues on the path that he has for the last few seasons, then don?t be surprised if David Quinn sticks to his word and puts Staal in the press box. Not to show him up, or to make some sort of statement to the team. Rather, because his modus operandi is putting out the six defensemen he believes give him the best chance to win on a given night no matter what their resumes might look like or how heavy that decision might be. https://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2018/9/27/17908584/rangers-vs-islanders-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-marc-staal-david-quinn-gettinger-lettieri Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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