Face reality, Tanner Glass has earned a spot in the Rangers lineup

Glass terrorized the Lightning (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

Glass terrorized the Lightning (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

Tanner Glass has changed. While he is still a 4th line grinder filled with grit and jam (analytics guys hate that), he is much different than last year. Glass is by far the most physical forward the Rangers have and due to his much improved play, a breath of fresh air on a one dimensional team.

One thing that stands out about Tanner Glass (version 2) is his skating. Even his most harshest critics have to admit he is much quicker on his feet. There is no doubt he worked on it during the offseason, but it wasn’t until he was demoted to the AHL that it must have hit him, he needed to do more.

Glass didn’t sulk during his time with the Wolf Pack, he worked and worked hard. Speaking to many fans who watched him play all said the same thing, he was one of the best players on the team. Almost all of them cited his effort and hard work. When he was finally recalled, he looked at this as possibly his last opportunity to stay in the NHL and he wasn’t going to let it slip away.

Last night, the Rangers closed out 2015 by beating Ben Bishop (in the regular season, it’s true) and the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Tanner Glass who buried former Ranger, Brian Boyle into the Blueshirts’ bench sparked his team the rest of the way. Of course, he was given an interference penalty because Boyle didn’t play the puck and the Lightning scored on the ensuing PP, but that would not get Glass down. Afterwards, he agreed it was penalty but told reporters, “I would probably do it 10 times out of 10.”

Instead of taking it a notch down, he amped it up. Glass came back out in the 3rd period with a perfectly timed hit on Anton Stralman that caused him to cough up the puck. Viktor Stalberg corralled it and dished to Dominic Moore who would score the game winner. Glass finished the night with 4 hits (2 biggies) and a career best +3.

Oh, for you advanced stats lovers, his corsi was pretty good at +2 differential and a CF% of 55. On the year since his recall that number is at 46.7% and climbing. Glass admitted on making some tweaks this summer to hold on to the puck better but doesn’t care for advanced stats. “Sometimes, it doesn’t correlate with that kind of stat, sometimes it does” Glass told WFAN. “It’s not something I pay attention to, nor do I care to.”

Glass buries Boyle (NBCSN)

Glass buries Boyle (NBCSN)

Tanner Glass has earned his spot in the lineup. He gives the Rangers a different look and can be a came changer in his own right. While that doesn’t please the Keyboard Warriors and Spreadsheet Sorcerers it is appreciated by his teammates and coaches. Ultimately, that is all that really matters.

The Rangers won last night because they scored 5 goals and gave up 2. They won because of the great skill of Mats Zuccarello (team leading 16th goal) and Dan Boyle (1G, 1A). Yet, they also won because of the play of three 4th liners who turned the game around with each hit and eventually scored the game winning goal thanks to one big hit.

That hit was caused by Tanner Glass and it is a stat that doesn’t show up in any corsi event. Matter of fact, advanced stats people will argue that if you have to hit someone, you obviously don’t have the puck. Last night, it was a hit that caused a mistake that gave the Rangers the win and Glass the Broadway Hat.

Happy New Year, Tanner. The Rangers are glad to have you back.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore