Sharks GM Mike Grier calls criticism of new coach David Quinn unfair

david quinn
Feb 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers head coach David Quinn against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks introduced new head coach David Quinn on Tuesday.

Quinn, 56, is now the 11th head coach in franchise history replacing Bob Boughner. The Sharks finished last season with a 32-37-13 record and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. Previously, they were considered a staple in the postseason having made it 14 out of 15 years.

“We want to get back to that winning culture that’s been here for a really, really long time,” Quinn said. “And I know the last three years have been difficult, but I also think that’s been a byproduct of the success the Sharks have had over the last 15-20 years.”

Mike Grier defends David Quinn

mike grier
Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier gives a speech in memory of former player and scout Bryan Marchment before Filip Bystedt (not pictured) is selected as the number twenty-seven overall pick to the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn began his rise in the coaching ranks at Boston University from 2013-18. Sharks general manager Mike Grier, who played collegiately at Boston University, said that connection didn’t factor in the decision to hire Quinn.

“It’s just the cherry on top,” Grier said. “We’re trying to get some more Terriers out west. But it didn’t factor in to it as David was the best candidate for the job.”

Quinn was fired as coach of the Rangers on May 12, 2021. He posted a 96-87-25 record in his three seasons. His only “playoff” appearance was a sweep in the 2020 Qualifying Round at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

During his tenure with the Rangers, he received criticism for how he handled the ice time of young stars Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere.

“I’ll be honest, that’s the first I’ve heard of it and I’ve coached a lot of young players,” Quinn retorted. “I think if you want people to be better you have to be demanding but fair. When you have 18, 19 year old players set in their ways, things that they’ve done to get to this point aren’t necessarily what they need to do to continue to have success.”

Before the next question could be asked, Grier jumped in to defend Quinn against those critiques regarding his handling the Rangers youth in the lineup.

“Some of the stuff that’s out there about [his time with] the Rangers, I don’t think is fair,” he said.

Grier noted that despite Kakko (2nd overall) and Lafreniere (1st overall) being high draft picks, their situations were not comparable to other similar prospects. The Rangers made two big leaps in the lottery draft to select them with stars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider already on the team.

“If he just started giving Kakko and Lafreniere first line shifts without them earning it, the Kreiders and Zibanejads of the world would not have been happy with him,” Grier explained. “I think he handled the situation with the young players as well as he could’ve.”