Tanner Glass getting the job done in the playoffs

Tanner Glass (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Tanner Glass (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Tanner Glass inexplicably became the poster child for everything that was wrong with the Rangers in October and November. An article in the Washington Post, back on November 5th called him an “anchor” and by default was a key reason why the Rangers were unable to deploy lines like the year prior.

To be fair, he wasn’t playing well but neither were most of the Rangers not named Rick Nash in the first few weeks of the season. The article did cite injuries as an issue, but this particular piece caused almost every Rangers fancy stats blogger to pick up arms (laptops) and attack Glass all year.

The Rangers were 5-4-2 the day that article came out. That night the Rangers would beat the Detroit Red Wings in Motor City and rattle off a record of 48-18-5 since. Still, the rage against Glass went on and on even after the Rangers captured the President’s Trophy as the best team in the league. Yup, what an anchor!

Glass is no speed demon, but he is one of the few Rangers forwards who plays with a physical edge. More importantly, Alain Vigneault has a comfort level with him due to their time in Vancouver together. AV’s philosophy hasn’t changed much as he’s moved to NY, playing a quick transition and puck moving style. He also believes in playing it “whistle to whistle” and despises silly penalties that can put your team down. Penalties that players like Dan Carcillo and Derek Dorsett were known for.

In comes Tanner Glass, a UFA signing from Pittsburgh. The contract at 3 years and 1.45M per is not a great one, but it’s not a cap killer either. Sure, everyone wanted to point to that and his CF% of 43.37  ignoring all the other things he was doing on the ice, like hit and stand up for his teammates.

Last time I checked, hockey is still a physical game and also has an intimidation component to it as well. His ability to lay the body in his limited ice time each night plays a huge role in wearing down the opposition defense as you get later into a game.

His play really started to round into form in late March and has been steady ever since. A huge weight was lifted off his shoulders when he scored his one and only goal this season in Ottawa. And although he hasn’t scored since, his offensive play has improved. He picked up 2 assists in the final 9 regular season games and has 10 shots in 11 playoff games so far. Not great, but this is a 4th line grinder we are talking about.

At today’s press conference, Sean Hartnett of WFAN tweeted out these quotes from Alain Vigneault on Tanner Glass.

What AV is discussing are the intangibles the stats sheets, especially the fancy ones don’t clearly capture.

Here’s a great example, Tanner Glass may have helped turn this series around in a loss. How? The Capitals were basically manhandling the Rangers in game 4. A scrum behind the net ensued and eventually Glass had enough and dropped the mitts with Tim Gleason.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzGKzN5EWMc”]

That sent a message to the Caps players that the Rangers weren’t going to roll over and die. Of course, some writers, especially the fancy stats ones will tell you that it had no effect at all on the game or the series. Maybe they’re right, but I’m a little old school and think it did, even if was just a small ripple.

The Rangers would go on to win games 5 and 6 to force a game 7 Wednesday night at the Garden. If the Rangers go on to win this series, you have to give Glass some credit. Listen, he isn’t going to light up the scoreboard so this is one way he can make a contribution. That and the 20 hits he’s delivered so far this series, 10 in the last 2 Rangers victories. His CF% is up in the playoffs by 5 points too at 48.24%.

So even though Glass isn’t ever going to be a fan favorite or get any press from the other blogs, this blog is going to give him credit and a pat on the back. Tanner Glass is one win away from flipping the script after being burned by the Rangers down 3-1 with Pittsburgh to helping them win a series with the same deficit.

Every great ship needs an anchor. Tanner Glass is doing a fine job as one. How’s that for turning a negative into a positive?

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

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