What happens when Jesper Fast is healthy?

March 15, 2017, by
jesper fast

(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

As the month of March progresses, less focus is on the Rangers and their playoff matchup —seemingly locked into that WC1 spot— and more about the lineup once the injuries clear up. Rick Nash’s and Michael Grabner’s returns to the lineup meant Matt Puempel and Brandon Pirri were sent to the press box. That much we knew.

But what happens when Jesper Fast returns to the lineup? This is something that few want to discuss for fear of the answer. There are only three realistic choices for Alain Vigneault to make. One of Tanner Glass, Jimmy Vesey, or Pavel Buchnevich is coming out of the lineup when Fast returns.

To me, there is only one obvious choice to sit, and that’s Glass. I understand the toughness aspect, but he shouldn’t be in the lineup over critical development for Vesey and Buchnevich. Considering Fast is not going to be sitting, that leaves Glass.

Alain Vigneault doesn’t follow conventional logic though. Perhaps he thinks Glass –who has played somewhat well since his recall– deserves to be in the lineup. Does Vesey, who has cooled off significantly, come out? What about Buchnevich, who has already sat out a few games? Can you imagine the uproar if Buch sits again?

Assuming Fast doesn’t return until the middle of next week at the earliest, perhaps this is a non-issue for the regular season. I can certainly see AV rotating off-days for some of his vets and anyone else fighting a nagging injury. So maybe this is an issue we don’t see playing out until the postseason arrives.

But what then? I can certainly appreciate the conundrum if Glass continues is relatively solid play. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Vesey being the odd man out. It’s not a slight against the kid, it’s just an educated guess based on AV’s tendencies. Glass, in my opinion, isn’t coming out. Buchnevich has a top-six role. That leaves Vesey, who is currently the 4RW, where Fast would easily be inserted in his place.

But hey, no one knows what’s going on in the coach’s head anymore. So for all we know, it’ll be Chris Kreider sitting.

"What happens when Jesper Fast is healthy?", 2 out of 5 based on 3 ratings.
Categories : Injuries


  1. omgrodnick says:

    We’re talking about AV and Glass.

    Vesey or Buch will sit.

  2. Mike K says:

    I’d vote on sitting Vessey, and/or rotating him, Glass, and anyone needing a rest etc. Don’t underestimate the need for toughness and a guy who can fight if needed…especially in the playoffs! I admit he is not as skilled or with an upside or future the others have, but Glass brings grit the others do not have and toughness & snarl no one else on this team seems to have at all. We cannot get pushed around and disrespected as we have b4 Glass was brought back in.

    • Al Dugan says:

      Mike….there aren’t fights in playoff games anymore.

      Anyway, Fast has to play.

      Buch looks gassed, and maybe could use a game or two before the playoffs.

      Other than that. Fast for Glass, for me.

      • Rich S says:

        its not the fighting today that hurts and injures players its the LeTangs who stick players in the mouth [ie. wictor stallberg] and the radko gudas;s who regularly board defenseless players[ ie vesey] ..
        Considering the referrees rarely call these penalties, there will always be a need for some physical players on a team…..

        I think both vesey and buch could use time off……….

      • Mike K says:

        I understand that and even agree, but u still need the POSSIBILITY on the team so opponents don;t take runs at our guys, especially targetting our MVP’s. Also, we need to stop exclusively playing AV’s “cash-only” style i.e.: no checks! haha … I realize the team needs more than just checks and a tough(er) guy, but we cannot do that much until off-season to really make this team better and more playoff-stanley capable. We have a good group but more is needed to become a team we can feel confident in vs top teams 4 out of 7…i do not feel we are there right now.

        • John B says:

          I think Rich S and Mike K are 100% right.

          Look at how effective Carcillo was at preventing Prust breaking Stevan’s jaw in 2014!! Oh wait, bad example.

          Look at how effective Mcllrath was in preventing the hit on Stepan in Boston that broke his ribs while in the ice!! Oh crap another bad example.

          I know, look at how effective Glass was against the Caps at stopping Tom Wilson past few playoff serious we’ve played them!! What’s that? He didn’t. Damn

          Look at we’ll Glass deterred Letang last year on that Stalberg hit! Wow, another swing and miss.

          FACT: deterrence doesn’t exist. It’s a myth that’s been proven over and over again yet some cling to it like a life vest for a person who can’t swim. If player ‘x’ is going to lay a dirty hit on player ‘y’ they WILL do it no matter what.

          • Chris A says:

            Well said John!

            Dirty players are going to make dirty plays no matter what.

          • Egelstein says:

            Usually the types of players who commit dirty plays are not at all afraid of the comeuppance, either. A maniac like Radko Gudas is afraid of Tanner Glass? Please. I don’t think Radko Gudas is afraid of anyone.

    • omgrodnick says:

      This team is definitely missing something in that their effort level is so inconsistent. They seem to just not show up for a lot of 1st periods, and are frequently dominated after periods where they played well.

      It’s a fine line between feeling like you’re leaving it all out and actually doing on.

      I don’t know how to fix that compete level issue but I’m fairly certain the solution does not involve one of the worst forwards to play in the NHL over the past decade.

      • omgrodnick says:

        Wow. I can’t type. What I meant to say was…

        “It’s a fine line between feeling like you’re leaving it all out on the ice and actually doing so.”

      • Egelstein says:

        I’m wondering if it’s partially a matter of fatigue sometimes due to the up-tempo offense and the constant sprints with the stretch pass heavy approach? It is a bit uncanny that it often seems that the whole team goes flat all at once, in unison. It’s not just like one player drags and takes his line down with him – or at least it doesn’t seem that way to my eyes.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          My theory on that is that when you have a team like this one, with a bunch of good to very good but not elite level players, when a few players drop off in terms of production, the others are just not skilled enough to put the team on their back the way a Kane, Crosby, Ovie etc can do. For this team to succeed, it has to be like 2014 and 2015 before the injuries….all of them must be clicking in unison..

          • Tom O Hawk says:

            I totally agree. There’s no elite players on this team. Some real good ones but not elite. Which is also why fans shouldn’t be constantly blaming the coach for this and that. For a team with no stars and a defense that’s nothing to write home about and in a division that’s probably the best in the league right now, I think he’s done a pretty good job.

      • @therealomgrodnick says:

        This is my theory: the offense is fatigued because the defense is trash. I made this prediction on BSB back towards the beginning of the season when the Rangers were steamrolling other teams and I gleefully laughed while watching games. Even back then it was obvious to everyone but AV that the defense as a whole was a steaming pile of shite because that gum-chewing moron refused to sit the pylons (Klein, G, Staal). Said pylons, in addition to being incapable of reliably “shutting down” tough assignments, were (and still are) woefully inept at moving the puck and creating any semblance of a D to O transition. As a result, the forwards often had to retreat deep in their own zone to help reestablish puck possession (picture wingers well below the hash marks, behind the net, around the net, etc). At that point, it was also on the forwards to create their own transition game. So in addition to doing the blueliners’ jobs, they also had to carry the puck up ice through traffic and into the offensive zone. Then, if that wasn’t possible, we would see the all-too-familiar “dump, change, repeat until someone on our team makes a play or someone on their team flubs the puck.” I think this taxing style of play is catching up to the forwards, and it’s happening at a very inopportune time. Long story short, #fireAV because unless Gorton finds a way to jettison ALL the players who shouldn’t be in the NHL from our roster, AV will find a way to fuck up deployments. I think we will see another first, maaaaybe second round exit in the playoffs this year. But hey, at least we didn’t break the bank at the trade deadline for a player that AV would end up misusing anyway.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Yeah, that makes perfect sense since the team actually OVERACHIEVED expectations. And further makes perfect sense since AV was just extended and got a significant raise.

          The one point I do agree with is that the forwards may well have to carry a disproportionate responsibility here since the defense isn’t as good as it once was. But how is that on AV? The team is the team and it’s not as if there are any options currently on the roster or in the AHL that would likely yield a better result.

          Since the meltdown games in mid-January, the goals against have gotten better. Defense as a whole has been better. This still isn’t a championship caliber team at the moment but if everything breaks right, hey, ya never know.

  3. Hey Yo Mikey says:

    I think if Glass stays in it’ll be at the expense of Vesey. Vesey shouldn’t be on the fourth line anyway but that’s the problem the Rangers have right now. An abundance of skill players that make it hard for a coach to slot them all in correctly.

    Vesey hasn’t ever played this much hockey in a season before so his stamina will improve as he develops.

    We need physicality in the playoffs from our forwards as well. Our opponents will be bringing that element with them so we need to have it too. I don’t think skill alone will get us very far. not in a seven game series. We need a mix and often times when we don’t have it we pay the price.

    This isn’t me advocating Glass in the playoff lineup but more of a wish that some of our bigger forwards ratchet up the physical play.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Why ask such a silly question? Buchnevich sits.

  5. Egelstein says:

    What should happen IMO: Glass out, Fast stapled to the fourth line.

    What I expect AV to do: Glass stapled to the fourth line, “Quickie” in the top six, Buch sits.

    There’s a case to be made for Glass (I suppose) in that Buch has battled injuries this season and Vesey may be getting gassed with his first long NHL season grind. That said, that’s just speculation that Buch is still possibly a bit gimpy and/or Vesey is possibly a bit worn out. What is not speculation is that Tanner Glass has less tangible hockey skill than anyone who may sit instead of him when the lineup is fully healthy. Glass has been shockingly not bad in this call-up, to give credit where it is due, but I still don’t think he belongs on this roster when all are healthy. Part of the issue is how AV deploys him (see: Tanner Glass on the ice in closing minutes down a goal, which should never, ever, ever happen). I could live with Glass sitting in the press box most nights but getting spot starts against highly physical teams or “bad blood” match-ups. The reality, however, is that is just not how AV uses him.

  6. SalMerc says:

    Here is a better question – Klein and Girardi are ready the same day – What 2 defenseman come out of the lineup?

    My guess is Holden and Kampfer, although Kampfer has looked pretty good, and it probably should be Staal, who has looked miserable at times.

    • Egelstein says:


      …Is arguably the most effective possible defensive arrangement…


      …is an arrangement I could absolutely see AV settling on…

      • Swazi says:

        Be realistic.

        Skjei-Smith would be the third pairing. Getting like 16 minutes a night. While only playing with the fourth line and Tanner.

  7. sherrane says:

    Glass sits. He was needed because nobody picked up doing the grunt work after Fast went down and it showed. The Rangers have played better with Glass in the lineup despite being a less talented team with him on the ice.

  8. Peter says:

    I’d rotate Glass in when necessary to give people rests. I’d hold him in reserve for the playoffs to be ready for a game or two when needed. He has played fairly well since his callup, but this is about as well as Glass can play. However, if the team needs a role model for commitment during the playoffs, then throw him into the mix. He does give his all.

    That is what I would do. I expect that AV may play him more than I would. I suspect Buch might sit, but they might sit others for rests a few nights too. Vesey does look gassed most recent nights.

  9. Stevesse says:

    It will be Fast,Lindbergh and Glass to open the playoffs. Vesey will move up, probably to Nash line. It is obvious that Buch is not ready for prime time and he will sit until Rangers lead in a series or AV is desperate.

  10. pas44 says:

    Buch needs to mature, his head isn’t at this level yet…

    Fast for Glass, come on guys “This ain’t no pie eating contest” (name this movie)


  11. Playground 9 says:

    I love Buch but….I noticed against the Lightning he was receiving wide open passes with no one around but not catching the puck. He seemed unfocused. This team has a bad habit of not bringing the energy. Glass can help. Glad Jesper is getting healthy. Don’t forget Buch is like 22 – he is still maturing.

  12. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Lots of good food for thought out here. I shall attempt to tackle the astute points made one by one….

    Dave writes his usual excellent article, but I disagree with the one phrase in paragraph 3…..”(Glass) shouldn’t be in the lineup over critical development for Vesey and Buchnevich.” This is not just Dave, but its’ an ongoing theme on this blog……repeat after me everyone…..”THE KIDS MUST PLAY!!!!!” Makes no difference if they have hit a wall, or are actually ready or not for the rigors of playoff hockey. It’s irrelevant. Just…play…the kids!

    This narrative has been spun in a number of different ways in the two years that I’ve been on this blog. The first absurd narrative (not offered up by Dave as I recall but by others), is that AV “hates” the kids. That came up two years ago when Miller spent a little time in AV’s doghouse. It came up often last year when Hayes and Lindberg were benched for a few games, and when McIlrath only played in half the games he was healthy enough to dress for. AV was skewered for violating the sacred mantra of many on this blog….THE KIDS MUST PLAY!!!!!!

    But then our eyes were opened to reality. Miller, we learned, had work ethic and attitude problems that needed to be corrected (confirmed by two reliable sources including Dave Maloney). As an aside, I remember attending some playoff games in 2014 when Stepan was hurt and AV had no choice but to play Miller. His play was BRUTAL. He wasn’t anywhere near ready to play in critical ECF games. He had much to learn and now it appears he’s taken big strides and is someone that AV trusts now (despite the slump in play he is currently in).

    Last year, AV apparently hated Hayes, Lindberg and McIlrath, and that’s why they were benched. But we learned after the season that Hayes was out of shape, Lindberg was compromised by bad hips that required surgery, and in McIlrath’s case, well, we don’t need to rehash all that. He’s an AHL player and no NHL team believes he is a viable answer on anyone’s backline at the moment.

    Does AV trust Glass, maybe to a fault? Apparently so. But the NHL isn’t a development league, at least not first and foremost. The idea here is to win. AV’s job right now is to get his team ready for the SC playoffs–period. Developing Vesey and Buch is irrelevant at the moment. Why is this time so “critical” for their development? Whatever kind of player they are destined to become is not going to be altered one way or another if they play now or in the playoffs, or don’t play much again until next training camp.

    Just like with Miller, Hayes, Lindberg and McIlrath, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes with Vesey and Buchnevich. Vesey may be completely gassed. Buch may still be dealing with his back injury. Neither have been particularly impressive in some time now. This to me was always going to be a “transitional year” for both players. They have opened some eyes but truthfully, there’s a far greater likelihood they would “crap the bed” come playoff time then excel. Especially if they aren’t 100%. So if either or both players sit come playoff time, I’m ok with that.

    I’m fine with Glass playing in the playoffs. The Rangers advanced far with him two years ago. They likely would have been back in the SCF if not for all the injuries. But where I disagree is that somehow, Glass’s presence stops a Letang from sticking someone in the mouth. And do we really want to retaliate and find ourselves dealing with a major penalty? Not with the PK we have! What Glass brings is hustle and max effort on every shift. He can hit and create some energy. All good. But sorry, seeing Glass on the ice is NOT going to stop any NHL player from doing what they will do.

    On the defense question, it’s a good one. I think it’s a given that Girardi will go back in. I don’t think it’s at all as clear that Klein automatically goes back in. In fact, I think you will see the following…

    McDonagh, Staal, Skjei, Smith, Holden, Girardi (pairings TBD).

    I think Klein is no longer going to get AV’s “favored nation status”, and sorry, I know the fancy stats folks love him, but Clendening, barring injury, may have played his last game as a Ranger. He just is not very good and in my view would get roasted come playoff time. Kampfer will be the 7D in case anyone stumbles.

    Should be a very interesting next few weeks….

    • Ray says:

      I’d go for somewhere in between. I agree with Dave that developing Buch and Vesey is important and should be taken into account. However, I agree with Eddie about who should play in March and beyond. In the playoffs, it’s only about winning and at this point, it’s only about being playoff-ready.

      I’m certainly not convinced that Glass brings more to the table than Vesey, Buch, Puempel, Pirri, or Hrivik, but AV will play the guy he thinks brings the most to the fourth line.

      Are we sure Lindberg is safe?

    • Rich S says:

      You make some good points eddie but I disagree on two issues….
      1. hayes and miller were benched by AV for poor play…..YET stepan, girardi, klein and stall continually stink up the place on a nightly basis and continue to play!!!
      2. Having a glass or a mcilrath will act as a deterrent if when a letang or a gudas does their thing they are be TARGETED IMMEDIATELY for retailation—elbow to the jaw, whack of the stick to a leg, crosscheck into the boards, punch to the face…….when you put the fear of God in them their behavior will change…….Guaranteed!!!!!!
      Once letang and gudas know they wont get away with that crap it will stop!!!!

      • John B says:

        Please provide any evidence that supports this theory. Any.

        We’ll wait while you look.

        • Rich S says:

          Dave ‘the hammer’ Schultz admitted some years back that when Nick Fotiu was on the ice he always ‘aware’ …..
          interesting enough schultz never wanted to or did engage nicky……
          no more ‘dale rolfe’ beatings administered when nicky played!
          how bout that evidence?

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            I think John meant give a “modern day” example. There is no doubt that what you are saying WAS true 30-40 years ago. In today’s NHL, all these guys are elite level athletes who aren’t going to be intimidated by anyone.

          • John B says:

            How about Marty McSorley taking a baseball swing at Brashears head?

            How about Chris Simon taking a swing at Holliweg’s neck with Colton Orr on the ice?

            How about the above cited evidence of Carcillo having no “deterrence” on Prust clocking Stepan, Mcllrath preventing the hit on Stepan in Boston while on the ice (forgot who did it), Simmonds decking McDonagh, Letang on Stalberg with Glass in the line up. Ovie and Wilson boarding players, with Glass in the line up.

            Most of those are just examples from our team. We can expand this out to include every other NHL team.

            Again. FACT: Deterrence does not exist, its a myth. If player ‘x’ is going to execute a dirty hit/borderline hit on player ‘y’, there is NOTHING that is going to alter that decision making process.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


        1. It wasn’t simply for poor play. We now know there were other factors that led to the poor play–work ethic, maturity issues, being out of shape. That’s a very different thing. We can debate Girardi, Klein and Stepan’s relative effectiveness, but their work ethic is beyond question. That wasn’t the case previously with Miller and Hayes.

        So if the decision to bench a player is strictly based on performance, then all I can say is, Houston, we’d have a problem. Girardi and Klein have struggled. The person waiting in the wings that would be a better option would be???? Who? Clendening? Sorry, I’m not a fan and neither were five other teams. I guarantee you that, just like McIlrath, if he were waived today I doubt there’d be much of any interest. He may well be playing in Europe next year. Benching Girardi or Klein is just a move for the sake of making a move.

        Stepan? His only sin is that he’s struggling with his goal scoring and he has a big contract. He’s working his tail off every game. And again, your choice of who would go in in his place would be who now?

        Btw, last 14 games….

        Stepan1-5-6 +3
        Miller 1-3-4 -1
        Hayes 2-2-4. -5

        So who of that group should be benched. I forget, we can’t bench either of our “untouchable stars” :).

        And, so much for “AV hates the kids”, since their recent play easily would justify taking a seat. The reason they aren’t being benched…..both Hayes and Miller are working hard now. They’ve earned the longer leash that Stepan and others have earned. Pretty much the way it should be.

        2. I agree with John B. There is no such thing as a “deterrent” in the modern NHL. You honestly believe that a Glass or a McIlrath will “change behavior”? Not a chance. Indeed, this will just ratchet up the chippiness that in my view can lead to more injury and most of all, throw the Rangers off their game and even worse, get them into a short handed situation they surely want to avoid.

        Even though for some reason we have lots of Fast haters, he clearly needs to be back in there if he’s healthy. He’s one of those guys where stats do not tell the whole story, and to me our mediocre play of late coincides with Fast being out of the lineup is no coincidence. So it’s a given he goes back in.

        I’m neutral on whether to play Glass or not. If Vesey and Buchnevich get their game in order, we are better off doubling down on skill then playing Glass. That’s our game. But if one of them is simply done for the remainder of the season, and AV wants to play Glass, I’m ok with that because Glass usually doesnt take bad penalties. He works hard, throws some hits, and in his ten minutes of ice time can be a bit of a disrupter. That’s a big, big difference than being a deterrent, which he most certainly is not (because there are none anymore in the modern NHL).

        • Ray says:

          I don’t buy the Clendening stuff. First of all, I don’t care about the five other teams. Justin Schultz was run out of town on a rail by a horrid Edmonton team he was not good enough to play for and is now one of the top scoring defensemen in the league. Gorton signed Clendening because he saw something there and kept Clendening over McIlrath again because he saw something. The Rangers need to make their own evaluation and the heck with conventional wisdom.

          Now, I am not a Corsi lover and was only too happy to see Yandle depart. So I am not going to commit to Clendening just because of some higher possession stat numbers. And I can’t claim to be an expert having seen relatively few games. But I have seen Skjei play comfortably with Clendening and struggle to cover for Klein. Clendening looks like an NHL defenseman to me. No he isn’t Victor Hedman, and I’m not even sure he is even Dan Girardi, but he is a legit third pair guy and a major upgrade on Klein, who is sadly through.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            Schultz has been a part of two organizations in five seasons. Clendening meanwhile has been with an astounding six organizations in three seasons. Pretty significant difference.

            Neither you nor I can get into Gorton’s head as to why specifically Clendening was signed. But I think it’s probably pretty simple. They weren’t sure if McIlrath would make it and wanted to have an insurance policy for the 7D spot. Why would you assume that there’s more to the evaluation than that?

            If, as I think you are implying here, AV is misusing an asset in Clendo that Gorton valued, then again I ask, why would Gorton extend AV when there was absolutely no reason to do so at this time? Obviously, it is logical to assume Gorton and AV are very much on the same page.

            It’s obvious that Clendo is a limited player who has failed to earn the confidence of six different head coaches in just three NHL seasons. There is probably a good reason for that.

            • Ray says:

              This is silly. There are no perfect coaches. Av is flawed and Gorton knows he is flawed. Obviously, Gorton thinks he is the best he can do, but that does not mean that he likes everything about him and does not even possibly hate some aspects.

              If I liked Clendo and AV wouldn’t play him, but felt about AV the way you do otherwise, no way would I fire him.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                You are correct that AV is not the perfect coach and also correct that AV and Gorton don’t likely see eye to eye on everything. But AV got an extension when it was not necessary to give him one, and he got what some writers have called a “superstar coach” type extension. You don’t give out deals like that if you’re Gorton and you say “oh well, I guess this is the best I can do.”

                As I said, Clendo is a journeyman. The Rangers needed defensive depth. Why was his signing any more or less significant than Nathan Gerbe or Brandon Pirri?

          • Walt says:

            Al Davis anyone???????

            He won Super Bowls with cast off’s didn’t he ????

            Enough said!!!!!!!!!!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Hi Walt! Spoken like a true Brooklyn-ite!

              You agree absolutely correct about that. But remember, NFL rosters are almost three times the size of an NHL roster, so there’s plenty of room for “cast offs” to contribute.

              However, I’m sure you will also agree that the Raiders don’t even come close to winning three Super Bowls without the greatness of Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikopf, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Dave Caspar, Marcus Allen, Ray Guy and Kenny Stabler–all HOFers who were obviously among the greatest players ever to play. We have Hank…and that’s it.

              As I’ve said before, truly GREAT players can lift the boats around them and allow for an owner like Davis to bring in those “cast offs” and still win. But those cast offs are meaningless without the HOFers.

              I did almost forget to mention that the Raiders had a HOF in John Madden and we have a future HOFer in AV, so there’s that! 🙂

              We don’t see eye to eye on this my friend, but we can agree on this–Just Win Baby!

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Hi Walt! Spoken like a true Brooklyn-ite!

              You are absolutely correct about that. But remember, NFL rosters are almost three times the size of an NHL roster, so there’s plenty of room for “cast offs” to contribute.

              However, I’m sure you will agree that the Raiders don’t even come close to winning three Super Bowls without the greatness of Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikopf, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Dave Caspar, Marcus Allen, Ray Guy and Kenny Stabler–all HOFers who were obviously among the greatest players ever to play. We have Hank…and that’s it.

              As I’ve said before, truly GREAT players can lift the boats around them and allow for an owner like Davis to bring in those “cast offs” and still win. But those cast offs are meaningless without the HOFers.

              I did almost forget to mention that the Raiders had a HOF in John Madden and we have a future HOFer in AV, so there’s that! 🙂

              We don’t see eye to eye on this my friend, but we can agree on this–Just Win Baby!

          • Hockey Sittoo says:

            I think Clendo dug his own grave with his impolitic complaining to the press about being taken out of the lineup. Even Hank talked the diplomatic talk when he was benched in favor of Antti earlier this year. And Kampfer has been fine further cementing Clendo’s place on the bench.

    • Egelstein says:

      To me, the point has never been that AV universally “hated’ the kids. My frustration with him benching Miller, Hayes, and others over the years has two main components:

      1. As noted by Rich S. in his comment #1, he will bench a younger player for the same mistakes that vets commit (and in some cases, that vets commit more frequently) without punishment of any kind. It’s a terrible way to approach accountability. It sure seems that AV has a sliding accountability scale based on the player in question.

      2. If the alternative to a flawed/learning but undeniably skilled young player is a known entity who lacks tangible skill, sorry – I think the flawed/learning young player still brings more to the table than the retread vet. So, I’d assume (and can directly confirm it is the case for me personally) that the outrage you recall seeing wasn’t JUST that the kids weren’t playing…but also who was playing in their place. Just an example – I’m not saying this happened directly last year – but if my choice is a retread like Daniel Paille in the lineup vs. an allegedly out of shape or lazy Kevin Hayes…I take Hayes eight days a week, and I get his issues ironed out in practice and in my office – not by hurting the product on the ice during games to make a point.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

        The “AV hates the kids” narrative was definitely advanced out here quite a bit. It’s died down now because obviously, with all the kids in the lineup, some folks out here were forced to change their tune. But to your points…

        1. We are talking about two very different things. Veterans are a finished product. They are what they are. Benching veterans can cost you the rooom real fast if you aren’t careful. But when bad work ethic is the issue? My goodness that has to be dealt with real fast with a young player or you will have real problems.

        I am so perplexed why people think that somehow, every player should be treated the same. This isn’t a youth hockey team. In my experience covering teams and speaking to coaches and GMs, most of them are far more like AV in that young players have to earn the trust that a veteran has already earned. If this were truly an issue that you and others make it out to be, why would Gorton re-sign the coach? Why would Vesey or Hayes choose to sign with a coach that treats players in an unacceptable manner? It just doesnt add up.

        Besides, given the play of some veterans and rookies the last two seasons, how many veteran players are you willing to bench? You’d be benching half the team, players would be tight, you don’t have enough or better options anyway. It would be totally counter-productive.

        The purpose for benching young players is usually not about performance. It’s about a philosophy of not throwing too much at a young player too soon. Or in the case of Hayes and Miller, coaching out some really bad work ethic issues that needed to be addressed. Totally different kind of accountability.

        2. This pretty much ties in to 1. Sending messages to young players is pretty common practice in just about every sport, especially when the issue is work ethic. Playing a Paille for a few games is a great way to get a kid’s attention. And it’s worked. We have much better players now in Miller and Hayes because of their tough love.

        Taking it out on kid in practice or in the office and still rewarding the bad habits with playing time only reinforces bad behavior. Pro coaching 101.

        • Ray says:

          Just because most coaches walk gingerly around veterans doesn’t’t mean they are right. The reality is that the typical underperforming team – and the world is full of them – is riddled with veterans with attitude problems.

          But dealing with veterans is tough. It is simply not clear if management will have your back. How many Knick coaches have lost their jobs because they couldn’t get along with the ridiculous Carmelo Anthony.

          • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

            I am not aware of any attitude issues on the Rangers. We’d likely hear about it from a writer like Brooks if there was. By all accounts, this is a very tight knit group.

            Why are attitude problems more likely to come from veterans than younger players? I have seen no evidence that that is true. Indeed, there is more evidence that the opposite is true.

            I don’t know if coaches walk “gingerly” around vets. It’s just that vets earn a longer leash. Young players see this and realize that’s part of the drill. Learn the game, do the right things, and then eventually, that young player becomes a vet and will then get that longer leash. Hardly an unusual approach in pro sports.

            Your last paragraph though is right on the money. Jerking around highly paid veterans just to make a point is probably going to get you fired faster.

        • Egelstein says:

          To go into much greater detail with my take on these things than I did initially…

          I definitely wasn’t talking about benching half a team. Nor does it necessarily have to be complete benching when it comes to vets – roles can be reduced or changed without benching a player outright. If you step back and think about the argument that past-established trust for vets mandates a blanket-policy of ignorance regarding current performance, doesn’t that sound a bit off? Potentially counterproductive to the team’s success? I would not say that veterans never drag on the ice, bring low effort on a night, or commit mistakes, etc. I’d personally contend that vets can have terrible nights, and terrible stretches even – attitude, compete level, or pure performance based – as well.

          AV isn’t even at all consistent among his vets or young players, splitting it into those groupings. Jesper Fast (who I do not dislike, just an example) apparently usually can/could do no wrong despite some of the stupid penalties he’s taken or off nights he’s had at any point in his career, but other young players watched the end of the game and/or the next few games after one similar ill-advised penalty or a few “inefficient touches”. Sometimes even got sent down to Hartford.

          Klein got a night off earlier this season after a couple really bad games – which I’m not saying was egregious, to clarify, since he had a couple of the worst games of his career probably that led to it…but Girardi and Staal would be sitting every now and then too under the same logic. Every coach has favorites to a degree, sure; AV takes it to extremes. Certain players are nearly invincible while others are constantly walking the tightrope, and it isn’t just due to age or reputation or performance alone. Look at how little trust Keith Yandle got, for example. Many coaches would have given him big minutes and the undisputed PP QB role from day one without a question, I believe. Not AV, for whatever reason.

          I have contended and will continue to contend that the actual act of benching Hayes and Miller had very little to do with their progression – that it was far more likely due to continued instruction by the coaching staff, of course, but also simply that their natural learning, maturation, and physical development curves predominantly explain how they went from their talent level and performance from their first NHL game, to their tenth, to their fiftieth, to here. “Hey, well-regarded and clearly-talented prospect: Play better/harder or I’m going to put this older, slower, less talented player in!”. It just seems like an antiquated and stale approach to me, that again, has full potential to actually hurt the on-ice product if the replacing player is mediocre at their absolute performance ceiling.

          And to clarify, it’s not so much a night off here or there that I am raising an issue with. What irks me is when those nights off here or there are triggered easily for some players yet all but impossible for others. I’m also definitely not a fan of the extended “in AV’s dog-house” approach that was taken for certain young players.

          I do think benching young players to send a message is a more common practice in hockey than it is in some other sports. It is an old-school approach to things, and as we all know, some hockey coaches are still pretty old school in some ways. Baseball is my main sport I follow, and it is fairly unheard of for a well-regarded prospect to be benched for the remainder of a game after a bad mistake, which we’ve seen AV do on multiple occasions. It is also not exactly common for a well-regarded young prospect to watch from the press box after a couple bad games at the plate. These things are definitely not universal.

          Hockey players are human beings, sure – but they are also being paid a lot of money to play a game they love, and I think they can understand accountability on more of an even scale, whether they’ve been in the league a decade or not. Many a veteran in many a sport have seen decreased roles when their talent wanes due to decline in performance (natural trajectory or injury-forced) to the point that it is detrimental to the scoreboard, despite the fact that they were being paid a lot and/or at one time were very well-respected based solely on performance. This is not an alien concept.

          I didn’t say here AV is a terrible coach for these things. I also am not calling for his head. My opinion along with many others is that if he would just change a few of his approaches, I think the team could win more games. I’d actually strongly prefer he just change some habits to see if possibly another approach is better, than bring in a new coach. I just don’t think he will, though.

          Just because a GM retains a coach does not mean that coach is perfect. Maybe the GM is like-minded (which does not guarantee that either of them is correct in assuming that their approach wins them the most games possible). Maybe they are letting a level of friendship or camaraderie cloud the situation. Maybe the GM is aware of certain things he personally might not do with the team as coach, but also aren’t egregious enough to be deal-breakers. Maybe the GM is a puppet and ownership is really calling the shots. Etc. Just because a player signs somewhere does not mean the coach is perfect. Playing for the Rangers, in one of the most famous and storied cities on the planet (where there is a much higher chance for endorsements and notoriety than in smaller markers), in one of the most famous and storied sports arenas in the world, for a team that is known to generally take care of their players to an extremely high level on and off the ice, for the same money as anywhere else? …Maybe I’d sign there too even if I didn’t think the coach was perfect in how he handles accountability. Maybe I’d bet on myself to not end up in his dog house like others did. After all – some young players do make AV’s favorites list as well.

    • Tom O Hawk says:

      Totally agree. I think most fans just look at goals or sometimes assists and that’s it. I realize Glass isn’t the guy you’re gonna see on the stat sheet but he’s gonna bring energy every shift and for whatever reason this team goes into these spells where they look like they’re not truly going all out to get to loose pucks and things like that. Watching the post game and seeing the players talk about how they got a lift from seeing what Glass was doing says it all. I know some fans think they know what AV is thinking but none of us know what’s really going on. To me if Glass is forcing turnovers and getting in front for screens or getting to a loose puck to kick it over for someone to get a shot then he’s doing his job. Unfortunately I don’t see too many other guys hitting anyone to create a loose puck or turnover.

      • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:


        It’s interesting that two of the guys who are most undervalued by the fans (Fast and Glass) are the ones who are arguably most beloved by their teammates–for whatever that’s worth.

        Stats only tell part of the story in hockey. Chemistry matters on a hockey team.

      • Egelstein says:

        I dig Glass’s energy. I’m not sure he’s ever been accused of being lazy or dogging it out there. By all accounts, he does seem very well-liked by his teammates, so I’d definitely chance a bet that he’s a charismatic, loyal, and probably a funny guy. All good things. He seems to be a “glue guy”, for sure.

        What is not good is that he brings very little tangible effect to most games in terms of producing a winning product. That’s what folks bemoan.

        Sometimes he does force turnovers…but he also commits his share, and brings very little to the ability of his line to drive sustained possession or produce points. Sometimes he makes a bone-rattling hit…but he also whiffs on his share of hits, and/or takes himself out of the play in the process. Sometimes he gets in front for screens…and sometimes, so do most forwards in the NHL.

        Add something that is completely not his fault – how AV seems to enjoy putting him out there in critical moments when we need a goal or a penalty kill, many of which Glass does not contribute meaningfully to – and you (understandably, in my opinion) have the resulting Tanner Glass Effect on the fan base.

        If asked about him, of course his teammates are not going to trash the guy. There are jerk athletes you know even their teammates probably don’t like very much (Glass is certainly not one of them, to be clear)…and they still don’t trash the guy. However, of the players who have been scratched for Glass during his NY tenure, I’d assume that, internally, a number of them may not have been pleased that the type of player with 69 points and a -51 in 505 career NHL games is the reason they’re spectating – no matter how much they like him as a teammate and friend.

  13. Jerry says:

    To answer the question Dave posed in the title.
    Very simple, he plays, right next to Lindberg. Period.

  14. Bloomer says:

    I would like to see Jesper take some more time off to recuperate from his injury. Perhaps he could work on his shot or watch some tapes and learn defensive zone coverage.

  15. Peter says:

    Is the Glass half full, or half empty?

  16. John B says:

    We have our answer. As expected, Buch is sitting for TG15#goalz-n-gritz.

    Please que the excuses that this is a “good” “smart” any other happy positive spin decision.

    Yet another superior talented player is #scratchedforglass.

    Glass has played 505 career NHL games. 53% of them have been with this coach.