Please stop playing Tanner Glass

I open this post with a peace offering to those who came here to be irritated due to the title of this post. This is your friendly reminder that you have the freedom to choose which blog posts to read and which to ignore. Additionally, this post will include #fancystats, regular hockey-loving eyed interpretation, and perhaps the scariest of all, logic.

Let’s start the Tanner Glass dilemma from the beginning. Rangers fans that follow hockey were less than thrilled with the Glass signing for several reasons; the first being that he’s not good at hockey, and the second being that the contract itself ties a lot of money and time into a career fourth line player. That second part doesn’t need stats – fancy or basic – as justification. We saw a great fourth line player in Brian Boyle leave for monetary reasons over the summer, but big players with decent offensive upside are a dime a dozen. No need to bury your cap and lock one down for three years.

Consider, for one moment, that fans are a little agitated because Glen Sather had, despite his moments of brilliance, just locked down a 30 year old player whose career saw virtually no offensive capability (54 career points) for the highest and longest contract he’s ever received. Writers were lauding this as a move to have some “grit” and “jam” and whatever other strange words we want to associate with toughness on the team, but if you check around the league, you typically don’t pay $1.45M/year for a glorified punching bag.

For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some very, very simple stats. No Corsi here, so don’t worry, there’s no need for anyone to look too much up.

Tanner Glass

Would it surprise you to know that Player A is making just $50,000 less than Player B, and has an extra year on his contract? These are both Rangers who have had consistent fourth line minutes this season, both players who have pretty decent playoff history. Player A is obviously Glass, and Player B is Dominic Moore. Moore is a fourth line guy, but shockingly that doesn’t mean he can’t produce.

There’s a ton of talk about how Glass is a great guy, and I’m sure he is. He seems pretty amicable, he’s always there to congratulate his teammates and he got a pretty stellar ovation when he returned to Pittsburgh. I’m sure he’s a true delight in the locker room. Sadly, being a nice guy doesn’t win you hockey games, and I hope we all want to win. The argument that the Rangers haven’t been losing with him in the lineup is silly; if you have better players that fit the roster, play them. Imagine how much better your players can play, how fewer sloppy plays will reduce chances of your Dan Girardi’s having to risk breaking themselves blocking unnecessary shots. I get that we’re all just here to support the team, but you could support them all the same with a better roster skating.

All the above leads me to the basis of this post. The reason this was written was because of the practice lines yesterday.  Lines looked like this, per Pat Leonard:

Tanner Glass
April Fools! Wait..

This means that with the return of Martin St. Louis, James Sheppard becomes the extra forward on the ice. Who is this elusive Sheppard? Well, he played on the third line during his time with the Sharks, and he played phenomenally in the one round of the playoffs that the Sharks played with 6 points and an insane shooting percentage at 20%. This is why Sather targeted Sheppard from San Jose at the trade deadline. I’m pretty sure Sheppard was a favorite in the Sharks locker room, and he seems like a good Nova Scotia boy, so I don’t see a character reason why he wouldn’t play. As for athletic comparison – crazy, I know, since hockey isn’t really judged on athletic ability – well Sheppard blows Glass well out of the water. Forgive the few #fancystats here, if you’d like, please focus your attention to the more basic stats on the bottom of this chart (s/t Adam Herman):

Tanner Glass stats
Courtesy of Own the Puck

There’s not much to say on top of that.

Above all else, Glass is not to blame here. The rumors that fans who elected to stand out in the cold for players’ autographs turned their backs on Glass is pretty rude, but the nerdy bloggers like myself aren’t the ones preaching hatred of Glass. Hell, I wouldn’t mind being Glass right now. Getting paid millions to play a game you love? That’s pretty phenomenal. He isn’t forcing anyone to play him… unless my theory about the naked photos is true, in which case, well done.

At the end of each and every day, the Rangers could win the Presidents’ Trophy this year, but playing a sub-optimal lineup does nothing more than put you at risk of losing it all in a heartbeat. The playoffs are a tough time where you face the same team for several games, giving them a chance to exploit any and all of your weaknesses. If you don’t think Glass in your lineup is a weakness, then you haven’t been paying any attention. Please, Alain, stop the madness already. Don’t let us say that we traded a draft pick for a benchwarmer.

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  • I fully support your position, Becky. We traded for Sheppard and need to play him. Just in terms of the eye test, he has shown as much grit as Glass, better positioning and much better patience with the puck. I deplore the idiots who turned their backs on Glass. He is a team player and seems to be a good guy. He’ll make a stellar member of the Black Aces for this playoff run. I hope.

    • This isn’t about Glass the person. Glass the person is a good guy, solid teammate. But Glass the player doesn’t help this team.

  • The more I read your posts, the more I care for you, and your opinion!!

    That stated, Sheppard should be playing in TG’s place for one reason only, he is the better player, end of discussion!!!!!!!!!!!

    Personally, the idea that he is great in the locker room means squat to me. If, and when he is on the ice, TG is a liability, and the rest if the team has to cover for him, and his potential mistakes, well that takes away from everyone’s game. If he were to do his job, as professed, that he brings grit to the team, I really haven’t seen enough grit to justify his presence. Correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t Sheppard drop the gloves a few games back in defense of a teammate, while TG choked his chicken???? Bottom line, he should sit..

    A very famous baseball coach of the NY Giants of the 50’s , Leo the lip once said, “Nice guys finish last”, I certainly don’t want that because TG is a nice guy!!!!!!

    • People do get the impression that the criticism thrown at Glass is a knock on his character. It’s not. He’s a stand up guy. He’s just not the best option on the ice.

    • I totally agree with Walt’s sentiment in regards to your opinions as well Becky, and do look forward for your articles as well. However, the only thing I’d have to disagree with this article is that Bryan Boyle didn’t leave for the money, and that the main reason why he left is because he wanted more ice time. Keep up the good work Becky!

      • True, he wanted a bigger role. His wife is also from the Orlando area and he’s said he wanted to raise his family there. I apologize for that miscue.

  • This controversy on Glass shows what good shape the Rangers are this year. They are winning and getting reasonable production from everyone. I would have preferred that they had kept Dorsett or even Carcillo for the gunslinger, but Glass doesn’t bother me. He makes his two or three heavy hits per game, helps with the PK, and we won’t see him much in the playoffs. AV must have a long history with Glass and likes him. He is not Bickel, who should not have been the 6th D, nor Higgins, nor Wolski, nor even Richards the strike year, or a host of other duds who made big holes in the lineup over the years. This is not the fourth line of last year but the other three are better.

    • I agree with you to some degree Dov, but ,bottom line, with (IMO) Glass being a net minus for the team and (also IMO) Shepherd being a plus for our 4th line, it seems a no-brainer.

        • We will see come playoffs, but with all due respect to the pundits opinions on this blog, I’m going to defer to AV’s side. After all he is a “NHL” coach. I going to guess he knows a little more about hockey then anyone here! So far he has been light years ahead of the other guy you all loved so much…what was his name???where’s he hiding? 😉

          • I understand the reasoning to defer to AV, he’s a great coach. We love him here. But this decision, without a legitimate reason other than “I like what he brings” is questionable at best.

    • If you look at the last chart, Glass plays below 4th line level. BELOW. I don’t know what else needs to be said or shown, but if you have a player that plays well and a player that’s mediocre at best, why justify playing the worse player?

      Related, what makes you so sure he won’t play in the playoffs?

      • Unless the Rangers are getting banged around bad, I think AV will go with Shepherd, the same as the Penguins sat him much of the time last year. Who knows? Injuries enter into it as well and the Rangers have no depth. In a cake you need all kinds of ingredients and AV feels now he needs a pinch of Glass. The 12th forward is not going to win or lose them the playoffs. Some teams go with 7 Ds.

        • Thing is, Glass isn’t a deterrent. He barely plays, he doesn’t fight, and he’s a liability. I’d rather force the “banging” teams to catch them. Can’t hit what you can’t catch.

        • In the playoffs, I just don’t see him playing Glass if things get difficult. I don’t care what they do for the rest of Regular season, but when things really matter, I trust the coach to go with the best line up

          • No justification I can think of. We all know, I think, that AV has some sort of blood pact with Glass. It is all sorts of ridiculous, unless the coach knows something we’re all missing. I’m just trying to delude myself by looking ahead.

  • We can complain and complain about Glass…fact is that the Rangers are a soft team and can easily be run over by Boston or Washington in the first round. Is Glass the answer? Absolutely not. But for a GM who put goons out there to protect the Great One, the lack of physical presence on this team is pitiful. No one will stick up for anyone else, or is willing to do it. You can cross check someone in the back of the neck or slash away and rough-up an important, diminutive player and this team will haul off and give you a dirty look. Not advocating “old time” goon hockey. I hated it and it did tremendous damage to the growth of the sport in the U.S. But hockey has an important physical element…this team’s hope is that we are too fast to be hit.

  • Shameful big Buff got away with what he did the other night . There was plenty of time after the Miller cross check for anybody on the team to confront Buff but no one even ran him into the boards. Just shameful

    • Sad thing is that Buff would’ve gotten suspended had he injured Miller. The end result draws suspensions, not the act. It’s a joke really.

      • Amen dude….so frustrating. Deplorable really.

        If I shoot you and you don’t die….I probably should still get arrested, right?

        NHL = Nonsensical Hockey Law

          • 4 games with his team desperately clinging to playoff life isn’t a bad enough suspension for you, Becky?

          • I take it back. After watching another replay, 4 games isn’t enough for that crosscheck/attempted decapitation.

            I wonder, if that happened in January would Buff had been given a longer suspension?

          • I was going to touch on that same point. While I understand that an in person hearing (5+ game ban) could certainly be justified, I wouldn’t trivialize a 4 game suspension given the situation. Byfuglien is a key component of Winnipeg’s team. As they make this last push in hopes of securing a playoff berth, the absence of Big Buff for 4 games shouldn’t be understated.

    • That whole situation was laughable. The only player I can remember recently fighting for any of his teammates was Sheppard fighting for Glass against Boston.

  • The thing that pisses me off is that, since Glass isn’t movable, this team is going to need to clear cap space and it’s going to cost us Hagelin or Moore.

  • No chance the rangers win the presidents trophy. Anaheim will win out and then Rangers have 1 point to give, 2 for a tie

  • I think having Glass on the team is really smart. Everybody knows he will be the guy every unhappy fan will be focused on.. the hatred will be targeted at him. That will make other guys (like Girardi (slowing down), Miller (mistakes in the beginning of the season), Marty (decreased productivity)) who would be otherwise candidates to take his place to stay focused at their games and not being chased out of town like Gaborik or Rozsival.

      • In all fairness i didn’t mean your blog which is btw awesome and i read it every day. But it seems there always has to be one player who is targeted this way. I can see it on myself… i never liked Gaborik being on this team and I don’t like Glass being on this team either and if there was no Glass I would be unhappy about Girardi staying and Stralman leaving and would be complaining why it couldn’t have been other way around? Do you know what I mean? I’m just trying to find logic and come up with the explanation other than Glass having pictures with Sather or AV naked etc.

        • There always need to be a whipping boy, it’s human nature. Most of the time the anger is directed at the player when it should be at the coach. Girardi shouldn’t be getting top pairing minutes, Glass should’t be playing, etc.

  • There can be no doubt that Sheppard is better than Glass, by a big margin, esp. in skating. It will be big trouble if we play the Bruins in Rd. 1. Not because the Bruins are great, but the officiating will play a major factor and once the playoffs start the officiating stops.

  • Glass’ stats are horrific. The Rangers traded for Shep and need to get him on the ice. He’s a big forward who plays strong on the defensive end, good forecheck and can finish in front of the net. No reason that they shouldn’t have him on the fourth line over Glass every night.

  • i’m just curious, what has the great james sheppard done since he’s been here other then be basically invisible?? career wise their offensive numbers are pretty similar. their penalty kill is 6th in the league and glass has been a part of that all season.he stands up for his teammates when given the chance, its not his fault AV never put him on the ice at the same time Byfuglien was on, thats not AVs style. Glass in his last 21 games has 1g 2a and is a +4 so i dont get how hes hurting the team. sheppard is a former 1st round pick now on his 3rd team and has basically done nothing since hes gotten here! Brian Boyle didnt leave here over money, he left because he wanted a bigger role on the team and AV wouldnt give him one. if we are going to bash Glass, then at least get the facts right!

    • Sheppard is 26 and missed two full seasons with an injury. Despite that, and despite being on no doubt worse teams than Glass, he has nearly double the points that Glass has. I don’t know if you actually want stats or you just want to vent, but in the two games he was able to play without Glass on his line, he had a goal — a feat that took Glass nearly a full year to do. If you were watching the Panthers game, the fourth line – sans Glass – was the most (and potentially only) capable line of the game.

      Again, not sure if you want to compare based on such a small sample size but I’m here if you’d like to battle, Ken.

  • I’d like to know what’s inside this story….seems like Slats brought in Sheppard to address this very issue. AV and Slats not on the same page on these players.

    • AV had Glass on his SCF team in 2011, so I’m guessing they have some kind of love for one another from there, but if Torts were pulling this crap we would all lose our minds in unison

    • Sheppard — I finally learned how to spell his name — was the third-line centre for the Sharks. He was brought in to give them depth at centre but also versatility, which is the very word AV used when he was acquired. At the start of the year we had St. Louis at centre during injuries and that can’t happen in the playoffs and Miller is better off on the wing.

    • Right. AV’s an idiot. He took us to the SC Finals last year, is leading the NYR to one of their greatest regular seasons ever, and may very well capture the Cup this year. But because of Glass, well, he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. Let’s fire him!

      Look, I think Becky’s blog is well researched and I essentially agree with it. (BTW, SO glad I found this blog. BSB is the best I’ve seen. Dave and Becky do a great job. I always learn something so well done!!!!). As mentioned before, I never would have signed Glass, and I’d play Sheppard now. But over the stretch of games since MSL went down, I think you could make the case that Sheppard and Glass have been pretty similar contributors, which means very little. I haven’t seen much from Sheppard that says he should be playing over Glass. And Glass has played better in recent games. At least it seems that way to me.

      MSL is back. I suspect in the final stretch of games, AV will rotate Glass and Sheppard. Whoever plays best will play in the playoffs. Both guys need to dramatically step up their game. Seems like a good motivational approach.

      • Oh, and I should mention Kevin as well. All the writers on this blog do a great job. Keep it up!

  • AV said he will play round the lineup a bit…I think the coaches know the difference between TG and Sheppard, but maybe they just want to take a last look or give him last chance to see if TG can play or not…if not, TG will be on the bench for the playoffs.

    • That’s the big thing, but wouldn’t you like to see Shep-Moore-Fast play together and develop some chemistry? Or have Shep in the lineup to learn his defensive responsibilities in a new system?

  • They signed him to the big contract. The coach wanted him; and still wants him. Sheppard hasn’t done anything to make the choice clearer in his favor. Glass will stay in the lineup. This constant bringing up of this topic is fruitless. Glass is not he determining factor whether they win or not. Hes a 4th liner!!! Of course Sheppard appears to be the better player—but show it on the ice. Make an impact! Make it hard for AV to bench him. So far, AVs choice has been easy—pick the guy I know , over the guy I don’t. Status Quo until that changes.

  • Where is that chick that asked Torts why Hags wasn’t on the power play? Does she still have a job covering the Rangers? She needs to speak up.

  • Glass isn’t the problem. It is AV’s perception that is twisted, and unless someone tries to understand (at a deeper level) what AV thinks Glass can do, the subject is blog fodder and nothing more.

  • Glass is a minor situation. The big problems are our PP sucks, there’s a lot of great chances that are not finished. When has Hags scored last, for example. The Bruins, Caps and Jets hammered our guys without retaliation and what is the use of getting a penalty called by the crappy refs when our PP sucks. Those are problems for the playoffs,, not Glass.

      • Becky has no sense, since she seems to be a troll herself.

        Post a blog that nothing more than a half-baked anti-Glass rant, then claim it’s not the blogger’s fault that fans hate Glass (what’s an blog post like this meant to do, otherwise?), then argue with the commenters?

        What is she, 12?

        • A troll calling someone 12 is funny.

          Side note: Did you not notice the stats she presented? Clearly you missed them.

          Also, the word “an” is used when a vowel is the first letter of the next word. “An blog” makes no sense and isn’t proper English.

          One final note: I’d say about 85% of the people here agree with Becky, thus she’s not really riling anyone up, or did you miss that as well?

          • Sorry! I guess you’ve never had a typo in your life! Glad you used it to try and discredit me though, that’s always the move of a true internet warrior. Good job!

            Someone who sits behind a keyboard calling Glass a glorified punching is laughable. The only people who use Glass as a punching bag are fans. Glass is a solid teammate who is respected in the room and over the last stretch of games has been the team’s best shift disturber.

            Rather than post stats with no context (over what stretch of time are those HERO stats compiled? Is Sheppard is amazing in his own zone, how has he only managed to be a plus player ONE time over the course of his career?) and piling on Glass (low hanging fruit), Becky COULD have wrote a more appropriate post on how Sheppard failed to distinguish himself as the clearly superior option. It’s not like he made AV’s a decision a no-brainer. He was invisible all but a handful of times.

            End of day, it’s likely Glass doesn’t play in the playoffs, anyway. So why continue to beat the dead horse?

          • I think a player who has one been a plus one time, especially on some very high scoring Sharks teams speaks volumes.

            Plus minus, when used in context, is a tool like any other stat.

            We can’t just throw out the stats we don’t like because we don’t like them.

            We’re done here because you really don’t have a solid point.

            Neither does Becky.

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