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Rangers coach David Quinn offers perspective to discussion of 'fairness' in NHL's return proposal

Head coach David Quinn of the Rangers looks

Head coach David Quinn of the Rangers looks on against the Islanders during the third period of a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.  Credit: Steven Ryan

Not everyone was on board with the NHL’s return to play plan, which featured 24 teams coming back, split between two “hub sites’’ when the league restarts. The Carolina Hurricanes, who would be matched against their nemesis, the Rangers, in the best-of-five play-in series, voted against the proposal. Apparently, they didn’t think being forced to play a short series against an opponent that swept four games from them in the regular season, just for the right to enter the 16-team playoffs, was fair.

But Rangers coach David Quinn, asked on his weekly MSG TV appearance whether he thought the return to play plan was fair, refused to say, one way or the other.

“I think we all have to be very careful when we’re talking about ‘fair,’ ’’ Quinn said, in an interview that will be aired Sunday night on MSG Network. “Because when I think about ‘fair’ right now, I think about the 100,000 people that have lost their lives and the loved ones that have been affected by it.

“So I think we all have to be very sensitive to the word, ‘fair.’ And we have been very fortunate that we continue to play a game that we love and coach a game that we love. I understand fairness in the small context of our sport, but I think we all have to keep the word ‘fair’ in perspective.’’

Quinn said he and his staff have been in constant communication with the players and they are all “excited about the possibility of playing again. Our guys are in a good mindset. We’re feeling really good about the way we were playing.’’

The Rangers, who played 70 games, finished the season 37-28-5, for 79 points. They are the 11th seed among the 12 Eastern Conference teams that will be returning. The top four teams in each conference will get a bye to the round of 16, while the Nos. 5 through 12 seeds will square off for the right to advance to the actual playoffs. Carolina, which was the No. 6 seed, played 68 games, and finished 38-25-5, for 81 points.

Quinn’s show, “Home Ice with David Quinn,’’ will air at 7 p.m. Sunday on MSG.

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