Is New York Ranger forward Tanner Glass the hero we deserve or the unlikely fourth-line, hard-working, scrappy hero we desperately need?
Let me preface this article by saying a couple things. Pavel Buchenevich is going to have by far and wide a more successful NHL career than Tanner Glass by way of points and offensive ability. I love the potential of Buchenevich.
Secondly, will Tanner Glass be the one who single-handedly win the cup for the New York Rangers? No. Hands down, no question no.
However, there are points that need to be addressed about AV using him in the lineup and why I agree with the decision.
The beauty of hockey is that it’s a team game. Ask any NHLer who’s won a cup, anyone, and they’ll tell you it’s all about the team. They use the term “we” five times more than other athletes will in their interviews. It’s the nature of the game and that’s what makes the game of hockey so special.
If you look at the most recent Stanley Cup winners, you will undoubtedly find a fourth line of grinders and hard workers with few NHL goals to their names. Let’s investigate.
The most recent cup winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins featured a fourth line with a guy by the name of Tom Kuhnhackl. Ever hear of him? I would guess not, but why was he in the Penguins lineup? Because he was some Corsi monster or some offensive force? No. He was in the lineup because he accepted his fourth line energy role and did it more effectively than others on the lineup. He was physical, he was first on the forecheck, and was tough to play below the goal line offensively.
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I think the most effective fourth line ever in terms of a Stanley Cup champion came way back in 2010-11 when the Boston Bruins were able to capture the Stanley Cup over the AV coached Vancouver Canucks.
One of the best forwards in the playoffs that year for the Bruins? A guy by the name of Daniel Paille. Paille finished the playoffs that year with six points — no great shakes, but he finished one point behind a guy by the name of Tyler Seguin. Obviously, Seguin is on his way to an explosive career in terms of points and there’s no way a guy like Paille will ever match Seguin’s point totals.
However, Paille did the little things coaches love. He played smart and simple. He didn’t turn over the puck, and he scored timely goals.
Back to Tanner Glass and the 2016-17 version of the New York Rangers. Glass brings no offensive ability (despite his crazy Game 1 goal) and he will by no means light up the score sheet.
No matter though. Glass is a player that wears his heart on his sleeve.
Anyone who’s actually played real hockey, not just a men’s rec. league, knows how big of a jolt comes when a fourth line player scores a goal or connects on a big hit. It’s massive. If Brendan Gallagher decides to take a run at Mats Zuccarello tomorrow night, who are we going to send out there to let the Habs know we’re not going to be pushed around? Rick Nash or Derek Stepan?
No. Tanner Glass.
I can hear you advanced stats people whispering in the back of the room. Let me start out by saying, yes, advanced stats have a place in the NHL. They simply shouldn’t run the entire league.
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If they did, wouldn’t you think Coyotes GM John Chayka, a founding member of a company called “Statheletes” and the king of stats have the Coyotes finishing better than last in the NHL? I’m willing to bet most of you advanced stats people have never played a real competitive game of hockey. You don’t know what its like to go to battle with a group of 20 brothers.
So before you continue to bash AV and his decision to insert Glass in the lineup, watch closely during these playoffs the fourth lines of these teams. Jay Beagle of the Caps, Matt Martin of the Leafs … see what these guys do for a team.
We already have multiple articles referencing Tanner Glass and how he scored the big goal. However, I’ve known for a long time why AV continues to put Glass in. Every coach has a fourth line guy that boosts the team. To AV, that’s what Glass is.
I think the regular season and the playoffs are two different types of hockey. The players know what’s at stake and they put everything on the line in order to win a cup. But with that changing of the game, the defense tightens, space decreases and scoring chances decrease. This is the environment that suits a guy like Buchenevich. At least not yet.
Make no mistake about it: I love the potential of Pavel Buchenevich. I really do. It takes a massively skilled player to pull something like this:
At the same time, he’s quite simply not ready to contribute in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And that’s OK.
He’s not the savior of this club at this juncture. He will be an excellent top six offensive player for the Rangers eventually, for years to come. But at this point, I think it’s a prudent move to keep Glass in there.
If a top nine spot opens up due to a slumping player or an injury, it’s then Buch time. Until then, Glass is the right man for the job and, of course, let’s go Rangers.