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Rangers coaches to sit out games at Capitals due to COVID-19 protocols

New York scored nine goals in win against Flyers with associate GM Drury, AHL staff filling in

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown will sit out two games at the Washington Capitals this weekend. They missed a 9-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocol guidelines.

Kris Knoblauch, coach of the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford, replaced Quinn as acting coach. Hartford associate coach Gord Murphy and Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury were assistants. They will coach the Rangers again when they visit the Capitals on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, MSG, NHL.TV) and Saturday.

"Being behind the bench, being able to call out lines and being part of the victory is memorable," Knoblauch said. "Definitely of all my coaching memories this will be one of the most significant ones."

Knoblauch said he has not been told if he is going to remain with the Rangers or return to Hartford after the road trip. New York is back home to play the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

"I'm aware that I'll be around this weekend," Knoblauch said.

Knoblauch and Murphy ran practice with Rangers skills coach Mark Ciaccio and goaltending coach Benoit Allaire on Thursday.

Knoblauch said he and Murphy talked with Quinn prior to practice and would be in touch again before leaving for Washington to go over a game plan and some video of what the Rangers want to do against the Capitals.

They are expected to stay in contact throughout the weekend.

Defenseman Ryan Lindgren said it's helpful to the players to know that Knoblauch, Murphy and Drury will work the two games in Washington rather than going on the road trip while wondering if Quinn, Martin, Oliver and Brown would return.

"I think it helped having them last night, and now going into this big road trip in Washington, we're all more familiar with them," Lindgren said. "It just makes us more comfortable with them."

Knoblauch said he was pulled off the ice in Hartford at 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday and was told to call Drury, who told him to be on standby because he might have to coach the Rangers. 

It was confirmed about 1 p.m. that he would be coaching the 7:30 p.m. game. He said his focus was to run the game plan Quinn set out for the Rangers and retain continuity, and that the players have been welcoming and helpful.

"They've been very accommodating," Knoblauch said. "Yesterday, just with routines, meeting times and preparation with the power play, not sure [of] the ebbs and flows of the pregame rituals. They helped us out with that. We don't want to disrupt what they're doing, and we want it to go as smoothly as possible and share the message the coaching staff wants to share and not turn things upside down."

Forward Chris Kreider did not skate in practice Thursday because he was given a maintenance day, Knoblauch said. He is expected to play Friday.

Alexandar Georgiev, who made 26 saves Wednesday, will start for New York on Friday, and Knoblauch said goalie Igor Shesterkin could be available to play Saturday. Shesterkin has missed seven games with a lower-body injury.

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