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May
06

On Tanner Glassdom

May 6, 2017, by

tanner glass

Let’s all take a moment here to appreciate Tanner Glass. I say that sincerely and with a straight face – dude had a nice game on Thursday night and deserves some appreciation. I’d like to do a bit more than just appreciate Tanner Glass however, I’d like to talk about him and the phenomena of obsession over him by some fans and members of the media.

You see there’s a misconception out there that some fans who would rather he not be in the lineup hate Tanner Glass or hope to see him fail. The response by those who hold this misconception is to praise Tanner Glass over and over, exalting his character and work ethic.

To the first point nobody hates Tanner Glass or wants him to fail; hate is such a strong word to use when we’re talking about what is literally just a game that we all follow as a hobby, and to say that some fans want him to fail is to deny them legitimacy as fans, implying that they’re more committed to the name on the back of the jersey and on the front when really it’s the other way around for all of us (yes, even the fans we disagree with are still fans).

Glass himself hinted at these feelings the other night, when after the Rangers Game 4 win over Ottawa he said the following: “My game’s not one that’s easy to like at times. People who know hockey. Your coaches. Your teammates. Those are the important people and they’re supportive … You know what? The people who do say those things don’t know much about the game, or being part of a team. Part of a locker room. Especially in a game like hockey. It’s a physical game. There’s so much that goes on, that the average fan doesn’t understand. To me, when I hear that stuff, it seems to be uneducated people.”

Now, before unpacking this quote and some of the praise Glass got the other night, I should say that he has every right to defend himself against what he sees as criticism of his character. So much of his part of being on the team has to do with his character that it probably seems like when people like myself say they’d rather he not be in the lineup, they’re saying they don’t want his character in the lineup. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as what I’m mostly concerned about is the skillset that leads to on-ice contributions and wins, but everyone’s a person, so how could you not take the intense scrutiny that comes with playing a professional sport personally? It’s completely fine that he might react this way and respond to what he feels is unwarranted criticism or ad hominem attacks.

What’s a little more puzzling to me is the way some fans and members of the media react to the criticism of Glass. The first is, as I mentioned earlier, more or less a questioning of others’ legitimacy as fans. To say that critics of Glass want him to fail is insulting; there are no members of the Rangers any fan wants to see perform poorly, we all like this team after all.

Beyond that though, there’s the effusive, almost never-ending praise heaped on him to drown out the basic fact that he’s not a particularly good NHL player. We heard a lot of this from Pierre McGuire last night, who at one point praised him for accepting his AHL assignment without any fuss or pushback. I’m sorry, but are we really praising a guy for not being a total jerk about what is simply an inevitable fact of the modern NHL, all while being paid handsomely to do so? One would reasonably expect any professional hockey player to act like a professional, and while it is commendable that he took his AHL assignment seriously it’s not necessarily exceptional.

While we’re here, do we ever hear any praise for Henrik Lundqvist for not bolting from a team that hasn’t been able to deliver him a Stanley Cup despite ten years of netminding dominance? There are literally dozens of things that NHL players do and don’t do on a regular basis that are commendable that don’t necessarily deserve the kind of praise Glass got on TV the other night. Oscar Lindberg scored two goals for crying out loud and didn’t even make the back pages of the NY sports dailies.

I also want to touch on this notion that he plays “blue collar hockey” or that he tries harder than other players on the team. There simply is no such thing as blue collar hockey, full stop. According to sportrac.com, Glass has taken home a little less than $8 million total over the past 8 seasons, and there’s nothing blue collar about that. His income surely and his lifestyle most probably are substantively different from that of the average American, and that’s not even touching on his degree from an elite institution of higher education. His effort on the ice is commendable, but to single him out as trying hard implies that the other guys on the ice (the ones on the team we all like, who we all want to succeed) are not trying as hard, and considering that these guys have been conditioned since they were young children to play hockey and strive for success at an elite level, it’s pretty hard for me to believe that they’re not.

Further, Tanner Glass is still, at every level of the game except the NHL, an exceptional athlete who could take any one of us in a game of hockey. To put it plainly, there’s nothing about Glass that’s more relatable than any other NHL player, from his salary cap hit to his skill set.

Now, I’d like to offer a few caveats to what I’ve just said. The first is that by all accounts, Tanner Glass is a decent, warm hearted individual, and I see no reason to doubt this claim. Along those lines, if Tanner Glass is your favorite player because of his personality, I’m happy for you (seriously!) because it’s always fun to have a favorite player who you can follow and look out for, and it’s definitely fun to get attached to certain players’ antics (Mats Zuccarello is one we can all agree on here I think). Hell, if Tanner Glass is your favorite player because of his style of play, that’s great too. But let’s be honest here, there’s nothing particularly virtuous or effective about his brand of hockey, and the lavish praise heaped upon him in response to what are perfectly valid, hockey based criticisms is frankly insulting to those fans who aren’t as into him and unfair to the dozen or so other guys on the team who also try hard and are good team mates, in addition to bringing the kind of skill set necessary to succeed at the NHL on a regular basis.

The next caveat is that as of late, he’s certainly been deserving of some of the praise he’s getting. He’s played well, getting in behind Ottawa’s trap system and beating opposing players to the puck, helping to set up scoring chances along the way. If he played this way every night you wouldn’t hear a peep out of anyone about his role on the team. The criticism is that he plays this way incredibly infrequently, and that’s a perfectly valid criticism to make. The criticism that he’s taking up a roster spot from a player who has proven to be more skilled than him, Pavel Buchnevich, is also perfectly valid, because it comes from a place of wanting to play the best lineup possible night in night out, giving a chance to a rookie to grow and develop into what will hopefully be a role on the top six.

Lastly, I again want to state that I have nothing against Tanner Glass personally, and by no means hate him. I have issues with the denigration of those who criticize him, and find the gushing praise heaped on him to be simply dishonest. Beyond that though, if he’s your guy, he’s your guy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s hope he keeps playing the way he’s playing, and he can be everyone’s guy.

Categories : Players

40 comments

  1. joe k says:

    Its amazing how few of you do not know the game. Tanner Glass is playing for one reason an that is what He does. An He does it well when called upon. AV knows it an inserted him in the lineup because AV knows the game an what the team was lacking. Do not abuse a player style when He is doing exactly what the coaches ask him to be.

    • Dave says:

      Yet you read and comment here. Thanks for the support!

      • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

        See, Dave, it’s funny; I’ve read (almost all of) the Ranger blogs on probably a borderline obsessive basis over the past five years or so. What I’ve always thought set this blog apart is (aside from it not being hosted from a vampire-infested castle like the other BSB is) the variety of ideas & points being flung about. There’s really an abundance of it here, and, furthermore, it’s one of the blog’s strengths; not the other way around.

        • Dave says:

          I’m always open to new ideas and great discussion. Leading with his first sentence, though, does not support discussion.

          • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

            Yea, I misread his post, sorry.

            Also, Joe, no one here really has been arguing that it’s not on AV (rather than Glass) in regards to whether or not he should be played…. nor do we disagree that he hasn’t exceeded his um… expectations, if we’ll call them that.

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      I agree, despite the positions I’ve taken while posting here, that the man (and it’s not just him) has always caught, quite frankly. an absurd amount of flak. He didn’t sign himself, he doesn’t tell AV when/if he’s playing; I could go on, but you get my point. I hate when people root against the players on their own team (hence why I don’t post on the ‘other’ BSB).

      To your post (and Dave’s), I don’t even disagree that he brings something which, sans Tanner, is utterly lacking throughout the lineup. You have a good point about his play in the corners being a problem for OTT’s trap. I would just rather see them dress 13 forwards with five defensemen, as I think that could kill two birds with one stone (reduce the reliance on 5/18/22 while getting 89 out there).

  2. Spozo says:

    I say this every time an article like this comes out. This team must be playing really well for there to be an article devoted to the 4th line winger.

  3. hondo says:

    blue collar denotes a style of hockey not a pay scale. A lot of games now seem like a skills contest/ love fest that borders on boring. I know where the games going and in a few years I will not be watching the regular season. What makes hockey more exciting for me is the passion that ramps up with a big hit or fight. That is sometimes the best way to turn a teams fortune around in a losing passionless game. Without it we are left with ice capades with sticks…think i’ll pass. If this is tanners last go round i wish him the best and the haters can GFT

    • Bobby B says:

      Hondo, WELL SAID!!!!!

    • Fotiu is God says:

      Praise Hondo, and of course, TG.

      Beyond repeating the obvious and critical contributions Glass has made, man, you can’t help but relish his powerfully refreshing authenticity. The glow about him, captured during between periods interviews.

      The dude’s real. I shudder to think where we’d be without him.

      And like you, Hondo, the 100-octane passion, the fire/the hate we see and feel come Playoff Time makes all that repulsive, indifferent vanilla hockey somehow palatable.

      LGR!

    • Pat says:

      So I normally don’t respond to comments because it takes a lot out of me to engage in internet debates, but yours was pretty thoughtful engagement with what I wrote, although I think you misunderstand my point (which is fine).

      What I’m trying to say is that it’s purely subjective whether Tanner Glass plays with more passion than a guy like say, Kevin Hayes. Can we really say for sure that there’s more passion in one of Glass’s big hits than in a slick stick handling move or a fancy behind the back pass? To me, the answer is no, and to say that Glass plays with passion while other guys don’t says more about the viewer than the player.

      To that end, my point about the money, about the effort he puts in, etc. is that there is nothing factually more relatable about Tanner Glass than any other player on the team. To me, pretending that he’s somehow more relatable than a guy like Jimmy Vesey (he too, of Ivy League credentials by the way) for example is disingenuous – Tanner Glass is no more objectively a regular guy than any of the other players on the team (which is to say they’re all sort of regular guys, and sort of not).

      Now, all that said, if he’s your favorite player anyway that’s fine – we all get attached to certain players for certain reasons, whether it’s Ryan McDonagh for his rock solid defensive play or Mats Zuccarello for his cheeky agitation and antics. My point is that loving Tanner Glass is no more important or less important than loving any other guy on the team, is entirely subjective, and is often a practice in obfuscation of other players’ performances that are also deserving of substantial praise (see, for example, Lindberg’s two goal performance that earned him exactly zero newspaper back pages). Obviously you simply like his style of play better, and that’s fine, but let’s not pretend that it’s an objectively better/more important play style, and let’s make our praise of his game proportionate to his actual on ice performance as we would any other player (this is a whole nother can of worms I realize, so let’s not get into that here).

      To your last point, I too wish him the best, despite what I find insulting about his comments the other night. I think I made it clear that I don’t on any level hate anything about him or even the disproportionate praise that he gets from certain fans/members of the media, because I can’t really say that there’s anything in hockey that brings me to the level of hatred. I hope the last segment of your comment wasn’t directed at me, but if it was that’s ok too, because even if you think it’s true I know it’s not.

      Thanks again for your honest engagement with the piece, I appreciate it.

      • hondo says:

        The last part was not directed at you but those whose level of vitriol has gone beyond mean sprited. I think of the fans who turned their backs on him while seeking autographs from other players..what turds. My favorite player on the team is zuuk but I am as are the coaches and players cognizent of the fact that a player like glass is at times required. Such players are capable of singlehandedly turning a game/series on a dime from passionless to positive which can be felt on the bench and through the tv screen…corsi be damned. Keep up the good work and w/o a doubt LGR!

    • upstatetom says:

      can’t agree more !!!!

    • Blue76 says:

      Like … and like anything positive that has been said so far

  4. 43 says:

    I read that first sentence, and I though hell froze over…

  5. Spozo says:

    Does the emotional lift, experience, and locker room attitude Tanner provides help this team in ways that don’t show up on the scoresheet? Well since we can’t quantify those intangibles there is no way of knowing. Either way, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. They played possibly their best 2 games of the season this week so keep the guy in until a change is needed.

    • Sammy says:

      I’m with you spozo. And I think he’s been used at the right times too. I’m happy for him because he does always bring it every game. I think you need a Tanner glass on the team in playoffs. And like you said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it “. Totally agree

  6. Sammy says:

    I thought we’d win this series so I hope they can get the win today and come back home and wrap it up. It’s amazing how we’re now playing our best hockey at home.

  7. Sammy says:

    We thought we were bad blowing a 2 goal lead with 3:20 left. Look at the oilers blowing a 3-0 lead with 3:16 left in the game and lost. It can happen to other teams not just us

  8. jerry maley says:

    Will someone tell CK that when he is driving down the wing not to stop, fall down and give up the puck. JUST KEEP DRIVING IN DEEP, DAMN IT. On Tanner Glass…100%..all the time…every shift. Every year. And beware Chris Neal today

  9. John says:

    If Ottawa dresses Chris Neil today, it’s a mistake as Neil should have retired last year….he may provide a spark but doesn’t have speed or skill needed for this series. Rangers are small but cannot be intimidated so I see it as a panic move. Phaneuf should pack it in too…..no heart.

  10. Mythdoc says:

    Quote: To say that critics of Glass want him to fail is insulting; there are no members of the Rangers any fan wants to see perform poorly, we all like this team after all.

    This statement is disingenuous, and it gets to the heart of why social media outlets can be so maddening at times. Posters (not naming names, the worst offenders are not here, though) and commenters haven’t sorted out the simple fact that while they are fans, yes, they also want to be proven right very, very much! When they have taken a critical stance, the desire to defend their narrative creates bias in what they report. Best recent case was after game 2, when all the analysis was on an AV narrative that ended up having too little to do with the actual game.

    Add to that the internet, where folks think they can be much meaner than they would in other formats. But hey, strong opinions drive page views and ad revenues on social media. So go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing. Just understand what you’re about and what interests you are representing.

    • joe from newburgh says:

      Well put, Mythdoc. You can see it displayed on every fan site. Here, and on the other NYR boards, there are a number of fans who are committed to their belief that, despite the lack of any evidence, they know how to coach this team better than AV does. The fact that Glass’s play is, in their eyes, one-dimensional, just provides them another excuse to criticize the coach’s deployment of his talents. The fact is, AV knows this team, its personalities, the chemistry between them, the cues that motivate them, far better than any of us outside the team do. Sure, he makes mistakes, as does every human being, but the fact that the team has gotten over 100 points in 3 of his 4 seasons (and 96 in the 2013, the year they went to the Stanley Cup final) been in the playoffs every year, and won 6 of 9 playoff series tells me that he really is a damn good coach who’s done a fine job of getting his team ready to play.

  11. Chris F says:

    Pat,

    While I agree that the Glass narrative is wildly overblown –both by those who insist there’s this compelling Glass Effect, and by those who insist he’s the worst NHLer in the League– and I think you make a very valid point that the media sensation over Glass’s marginal success this postseason is not really fair to the rest of the team, I respectfully must disagree with you on the point of there being no fans of the Rangers who hate Tanner Glass and hope for his failure.

    This is demonstrably untrue. The level of vitriol he receives on boards like Blueshirt Banter, Facebook, Yahoo, etc goes well beyond dissatisfaction with him as a player. It’s nasty, it’s personal, and it’s not that much of a stretch to interpret that as hate. Now, these may not be insightful thoughtful fans, but they’re Rangers fans nonetheless.

    Further, there is a tremendous amount of energy behind the hope for him to fail. Now, this is actually a separate issue from those who arguably do hate the man. There are a lot of fans who do want to see Glass fail and they get upset when he has a good night because they think his success will further entrench him in the lineup, taking away ice time from Buchnevich, or even leading to him being re-signed this off-season. It comes from a place of concern over the Rangers being the best they can be long-term into the future, and so on a short term basis they are actively hoping for Glass to fail so that he might never dress as a Ranger again. Short-term this means they’re actually willing to jeopardize the Rangers current playoff run so as to make for a better team next year, but it’s a palpable sentiment that is shared by more than a few crackpots.

    Joe Fortunato wrote a similar piece yesterday on Blueshirt Banter in which he also assured that Glass criticism wasn’t personal, and if he continues to play well he –and all Glass critics– is all for it. His readers largely skewered that notion, reassuring us all that they do, in fact, hate the man and want him to fail so that AV stops using him.

    It might not be the prevailing view on Glass, it might not be your view on Glass, but it’s certainly out there to such an extent that it’s impossible to simply ignore.

    My take is that I really don’t care if Buchnevich plays or Glass plays, so long as whoever it is contributes. So far, Glass has done more with his opportunity, with 5 points in 6 games. Buchnevich has a single assist in his 5 games, with a Corsi of 42%, Fenwick of 44%, and xG of 40%. He’s been a non-factor, while Glass has been a positive factor.

    Buchnevich is far and away the more talented player, but he’s also just a rookie, who plays a somewhat uninspiring game, and missed half the season due to injury. It’s really not that controversial that a player like that wouldn’t get a lot of playoff exposure this year and might sit for a gritty 4th liner who’s producing.

    You think the positive focus on Glass is overblown –you’re probably right–, but on the flip side, this apocalyptic narrative on Buchnvevich sitting is about as compelling as the McIlrath as Saviour storyline was.

    • Go F Yourself says:

      Slow clap gif.

      Right on, brother. Right on!

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      My problem with this is you’re assuming that the best of Glass (his four points in 68 playoff games, prior to this year’s, speak for themselves) is better than Buch at his worst. The real issue is this – we are keeping a kid in the pressbox whose numbers at the respective ages directly mimic what Vladimir Tarasenko & Evgeni Kuznetsov were each able to do in the KHL.

      Those aren’t ‘good’ players, they’d be arguably, each, our greatest forward if we had either of them. That alone is worth giving the kid some damned rope.

      Stated differently, the problem is this – If 89 was named “Paul Buck”, our non-existent 2013 first round pick who played in the KHL, and was a “good ol’ canadian boy” from *insert Pierre quip here*….. do you really think he’d be sitting? Because I’m not so sure I do.

      • Chris F says:

        We can inject any narrative we want into this to help buttress our bias. We can say it’s a Russian thing, but that’s pretty flimsy at best.

        You’re speaking as if we have a verifiable superstar on our hands and the only explanation for his benching is that he’s Russian.

        Here’s what we know:

        1) Buchnevich is incredibly talented, and makes our offense more dangerous when he’s in the lineup.

        2) He’s also a 22 year old rookie, who’s had injury issues, inconsistency issues, and has only 41 regular season and 5 playoff games under his belt.

        3) He’s prone to really bad turnovers, and right now in his career is more a one-dimensional offensive talent than a complete, responsible player.

        4) It’s the playoffs, where mistakes are magnified, and AV tends to rely on players he knows and trusts.

        With that said, it’s really not at all difficult to appreciate why he’s not getting alot of opportunities right now. This is not to say that Glass’s body of work shows him to be better at his best than Buchnevich at his worse. Glass isn’t in the lineup because AV thinks he’s a better or more talented player, he’s in because he’s a safer option right now. I truly believe that AV entered the playoffs with the intention of playing both and splitting them as needed to make adjustments depending on the team’s needs any given night. When we need skill and speed, Buchnevich plays, when we need more physicality, more forechecking, and a little more emotion, Glass plays.

        Is it even in dispute that Glass has done more with his opportunity than Buchnevich? What can anyone really point to to show otherwise (raw talent is not an actual achievement if it doesn’t translate into production)?

        Buchnevich doesn’t play physically, he makes bad turnovers, and has been primarily unnoticeable in the 5 playoff games he has played, getting 1 assist, and sporting pretty bad Corsi, Fenwick, and xG numbers. The one thing I will say is Buchnevich played a hell of a game 4 against Montreal, which is probably why he stayed in the lineup for the remainder of that series and the first 2 games in Ottawa. But he did nothing with those next 4 games, and we found ourselves in a 0-2 hole against the Senators.

        So, AV switched it up. Is that really a controversial thing?

        • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

          I don’t think it’s flimsy at all; if you recall, part of the reason why the kid even fell to the third round in the first place was concern over whether or not he was interested in coming over. I think Shestyorkin fell (among others) for precisely the same reason.

          I’m not trying to invoke some anti-russian-bias narrative that has clearly never existed in New York. Rather, this was a well documented issue at the time of that 2013 draft. You have to remember, the prospects of the KHL weren’t so grim then, even though it all seems a bit silly now.

          And yes, while he hasn’t been great in 4/5 GP so far, I still think that the Rangers made a tremendous mistake by not playing him as much as they could in the regular season. As I’ve said before, we might have something with this kid.

          Also, it should be worth noting Tanner is sporting a nifty 115 PDO. Not to imply he should be making smoothies upstairs…. maybe I’m wrong, but, don’t expect him to keep this up.

          But that doesn’t matter now….hopefully it will not cost them.

          • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

            Also I left this out of the first paragraph – unfortunately, in my opinion, teams tend to be more eager to extend opportunities to players with higher pedigrees.

            I’m not agreeing with it, rather, I’m just trying to point out that I think he’d have been given more rope under slightly different circumstances.

  12. Swarty says:

    Someone – I think it was Fotiu – once muttered something along the lines that things are never as good as you think when it is going good and they are not as bad as you think when things are going south.

    Seems like a good way to describe the Glass phenomenon. He is not a star by any means but he goes about his work and he contributes in ways that adds value to the team on and off the ice.

    I thought Pierre was laying it on pretty thick the other night, but that just seems to be his modus operandi anyway. But Glass is a good story right now and with the bashing he has taken since he has said yes to Sather (what was he supposed to do – say no?) it is nice to see him getting some worthy PR.

    Personally I was blown away that a hockey blogger such as yourself would state emphatically that there is no such thing as a blue-collar hockey player. Huh???And then spin it, as Hondo noted, as a financial comparison is puzzling to say the least. Perhaps that is because there is no Corsi related data or WAR for a blue-collar guy.

    No offense Pat – but It seems as though you are going out of your way to rationalize all the anti-Glass sentiment (and I use that word politely) that has occurred over the last few years.

    Sometimes you just need to take things at face value and appreciate them for what they are – Glass is playing and contributing – leave it at that.

  13. Walt says:

    I’m of the opinion that Glass has earned whatever time he is playing, by doing the little things that some others aren’t willing to do. As long as he continues to play his game, and is productive, well I have no complaints. I root for the blue jersey, not so much for the player in it, on most occasions……………………………..I also express myself when players aren’t producing, and going thru the motions, and taking playing time from otherwise productive players. That is the nature of being a fan, and to consistently support something that isn’t supportable, just because you like the individual, is just as bad as dumping someone else!!!!!!

    Just go out and win today, and disregard what you dislike, tune it out!!!!!!!

  14. Leatherneck says:

    Attitude always trumps skill…always…give me someone with great attitude and a lower skill set over a super star skill set with a bad attitude….any day….Any day.
    Tanner Glass brings a skill set none of the Ranger forwards have that is still needed to win a Cup. If anyone thinks he has not changed the complexion of this team for the better then is not a knowledgeable fan. End of story right there and not even up for debate. This is the softest Ranger team I had seen all season because they have Glass and Smith in the line up.
    Game 4 is a great example, Ottawa tried to get rough and send a message, I liked that from them as our Team seldom if at any time under AV has done this. Difference is that Smith and Glass answered the message and returned one right back to them. Did anyone notice Vesey at the end of the game standing ground and posturing?
    What Glass and Smith did is contagious, I know this to be a fact as a Combat Veteran and a United States Marine. I’ve seen it and done it. People look for someone to lead in a time of stress and that was what Glass and Smith did. You think there is no value to that skill set? If you feel you don’t then you are a Remington Raider or a Chairborne Ranger, and as I would call them a REMF.

    I am very glad we had Glass in the line up and for how he responded and played. Bravo to Glass and Smith, I say

  15. Leatherneck says:

    Vesey!!!!! that’s in….still looking….but that’s inn