NY Softshirts: “Vanilla” Rangers lineup could use some smash, crash, and Glass
Well, well, well…it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this super-soft version of the New York Rangers could do with a little punch. Larry Brooks of the NY Post called out this edition of the Blueshirts as “polite” and “vanilla”. Two terms you don’t want associated with your hockey team.
This season the nickname, NY Softshirts would be more fitting than Blueshirts. You could imagine the little teddy bear on the bottles of Snuggle Fabric Softener as their logo. I mean, they literally do nothing in the face of aggression.
Brooks pointed this out in his article when he wrote:
Four nights after no one lifted a finger in anger when the Stars’ Cody Eakin freight-trained Henrik Lundqvist behind his net in Dallas on Friday, no Ranger even thought twice about responding when Michael Grabner was kneed by Sidney Crosby midway through the second period in Pittsburgh.
And this about a month after no one interceded when Crosby jumped Ryan McDonagh and began throwing punches immediately after the Rangers captain had earned a major for boarding Conor Sheary.
While Brooks was quick to point out that they may be isolated incidents, the body of work of the Rangers this season suggest they are pacifists. Being a hard working team is all well and good Brooks states, but their “low key” personalities have produced one of the softest teams in Rangers history.
4 Similar Lines
The Rangers have gone with 4 lines filled with skill. Each line is almost a mirror image of the other with nothing to differentiate between them. The success of each line is usually marked by which of its skilled players is going that night. The lines with more higher end skill usually showing up more often.
There is no checking line really. There is no line who’s sole purpose is to get out there and hit everything that moves. In other words, the only way the Rangers can hope to change momentum, is to either score a goal or draw a penalty. The latter of the three options being the most difficult.
Last night, it was obvious they couldn’t score and were void of a single player that could even attempt the combustible option of putting a player on their backside. The result was a drubbing at the hands of a division rival.
The Glass Effect
After Henrik Lundqvist was nearly decapitated and not a single Ranger so much as threw a punch with a glove on, I called for Tanner Glass to return. Brooks today has now done the same.
The idea of promoting Glass — who ideally would step in for Marek Hrivik or Matt Puempel on the fourth line — or someone like him isn’t so much about adding a deterrent as it would be to send a message that even if the Rangers won’t hit first, they will at least hit back.
While I agree with Brooks on the above point, I also feel Glass’ addition would give the 4th line a human cannonball. It would give the Rangers bland same 4 line style look a shot in the arm. It would give them the option of trying to spark the team with a big hit or a shot to the mouth of the next opponent that takes a liberty at one of our stars.
Instant Character Boost
Captain, Ryan McDonagh heaped praise at Glass when he was here. He appreciated what he did for the room and how he comes to the aid of teammates on the ice. The Rangers captain is talking from experience too. Does everyone remember when Wayne Simmonds sucker punched McDonagh? Glass said after the team’s practice, “You’ve just got to let (Simmonds) know it’s not going to be tolerated. He’ll know.”
Then there was the incident where Matt Beleskey hit Stepan a few feet away from the boards and broke his ribs. It was Dylan McIlrath who immediately grabbed Beleskey and handed him an old fashioned beating. Tanner Glass was not with the team at the time, but was called up soon after.
In their first meeting with Boston, Glass delivered 10 hits…I repeat…10 hits to any Bruin he could find. The game was close, so he didn’t exact revenge on Beleskey and the Rangers won 2-1. Still, Glass didn’t forget and when the teams met again for the last time, he reminded Beleskey that revenge is a dish best served cold.
The bottom line is this, adding Glass doesn’t hurt the team regardless of what the Corsi worshippers think. In reality, his presence in the lineup changes the dynamic of the team for the better. It also would could Alain Vigneault a whole different option to try and turn the tide of a game.