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Rangers coach David Quinn feeling good on bench upon return from COVID-19

Rangers coach David Quinn watches as Alexis Lafrenière

Rangers coach David Quinn watches as Alexis Lafrenière celebrates a third period goal against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

David Quinn was back behind the Rangers’ bench for Sunday’s road game against the Washington Capitals after missing the previous six games while dealing with and recovering from COVID-19.

Before Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Capitals, Quinn said he was doing well.

"I feel good physically,’’ he said. "I didn’t get hit too bad by it. Obviously, climbing the walls, not been able to get out of the house or go to work, but Kris did a hell of a job with our team. Our team played well and that made it a lot easier.’’

Quinn and his three bench assistants — Jacques Martin, Greg Brown and David Oliver — were ruled out for the March 17 game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

Knoblauch, who is the Hartford Wolf Pack’s coach, and Gord Murphy, who is his associate coach, came up that night to fill in behind the bench, along with Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury. The Rangers won the game, 9-0.

Martin and Brown returned for Thursday’s game against the Flyers in Philadelphia, but Quinn didn’t, so Knoblauch stayed on as acting head coach and presided over an 8-3 win.

The Rangers went 4-2 with Knoblauch calling the shots, and with Oliver not cleared to return for Sunday’s game in Washington, Knoblauch remained behind the bench as an assistant.

Quinn, who in college was diagnosed with the blood disorder Hemophilia B, said he never had any real concern that his preexisting condition would put him in mortal danger from the virus.

"I was told I was going to be OK; it wasn’t going to be anything that was going to create more of an issue for me,’’ he said.

"But any time you get COVID, basically the way things have gone, you’re always a little bit worried. But I never really got sick at all and I was very fortunate to have a very mild reaction to it.’’

Quinn, who was in constant contact with Knoblauch while he was out, said he spoke with Vegas Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer, who also had the coronavirus and missed games.

DeBoer told him the time away would be "beneficial’’ to him in a way, and Quinn said he has been able to see the game from a different perspective.

Quinn was asked what his message is to people about COVID-19. "You just can never drop your guard with COVID,’’ he said.

"I think our organization’s done a good job, doing everything we can to stay safe and not put people in harm’s way. But . . . you can do everything right and still get it.’’

New York Sports