For most of the season, Tanner Glass spent it with Hartford in the AHL. Now, with 18 games remaining, the Rangers turn to him. On the heels of a brutal 4-1 loss in which the Canadiens abused them at MSG, the organization decided to recall Glass.
That in a nutshell typifies how soft this team is. They’ve become so easy to play against that they’re getting run out of their building by good teams. The lack of consistency and battle level in three straight home defeats to the Blue Jackets, Capitals and Canadiens was enough to finally get the organization’s attention.
Derek Stepan’s candid interview following last night was eye opening. He spoke about how the team works hard but doesn’t always work smart. That they’ve played stupid hockey and chased the puck too much. If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t sustain a consistent attack or score. In eight of the last nine games, they’ve scored two goals or fewer. It was even a life and death struggle to come back and get two points against the Devils, who imploded.
The most embarrassing aspect of Saturday in a game seen also on Hockey Night In Canada is how a tougher Montreal manhandled the Rangers. They crashed the net with reckless abandon making Henrik Lundqvist’s job hectic. The organized chaos worked with Lundqvist permitting two questionable goals while Carey Price made some key saves when the Rangers made a push in the third.
Brendan Gallagher crashed into Lundqvist late in the contest leading to a goalie interference which Marc Staal negated by going back at Gallagher. Of course, the masses poked fun at him. So, they’d rather no one do anything. Especially if it’s Staal, who’s struggled mightily. The hypocrisy of a Jekyll & Hyde fanbase showing its true colors.
If that wasn’t enough, you had pest Steve Ott chasing J.T. Miller around at the end of the game. The notified punk trying to goad Miller into a fight. Humiliating. Miller can stand up for himself. But the game was over. I’d already tuned out after noted offensive defenseman Jordie Benn made it 4-1 off a clean Ott face-off win against Mika Zibanejad.
I’d seen enough. That’s how hard it is to watch this team. An extension of their coach Alain Vigneault, they rarely stand up for each other. How many times are they going to back down from the opposition? In each home loss to Columbus, Washington and Montreal, physical play resulted in Blueshirts coughing up the puck. There’s no sandpaper on the roster. This is what some of the charts people wanted. A vanilla team with only speed and skill. There’s no Avery or Dubinsky or Callahan even though he’s basically done.
Brendan Smith can aid the blue line in that department. He showed some gumption in his debut in Boston knocking down David Pastrnak after his undetected cheap shot. But there’s not a single forward who can play that role and protect our skill players. When Mats Zuccarello is the most notable Blueshirt getting involved like a less tamed Theo Fleury, that speaks volumes. Zuccarello doesn’t take crap from nobody. How about his clean hip check on former Ranger Dominic Moore at center ice?
The Rangers need more of that style in spades. Chris Kreider was more involved last night. He mixed it up during one shift and later scored the team’s only goal by going to the net and converting a Zuccarello feed by steering in his own rebound. Rick Nash crashed into Price, who was out but he failed to score off a Pavel Buchnevich set up that should’ve been a lay-up.
Still missing Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast, the Blueshirts are desperate. So, Glass is back. They can’t be this easy to play against. Can Glass do any worse than Brandon Pirri? He’s done virtually nothing since his good start. At least with Tanner, you know he’ll bring a lunch pail work ethic. Glass will get the puck deep and finish checks. He’ll make guys accountable. It doesn’t mean they won’t take liberties. The silly argument from the corsi crowd. But that’s more about how the game is now. There’s no respect.
Glass may or may not play in Tampa. Vigneault was undecided. I will bet he’ll get in. Whether it’s for Pirri or Matt Puempel. Considering he still has Pirri on the power play, Puempel probably comes out even though he’s done more recently assisting on a Lindberg game-winning goal in a win at Boston.
The Rangers also brought back defenseman Steven Kampfer. Unless Brady Skjei is sicker than usual or Vigneault decides to sit Adam Clendening following a poor game, I don’t see Kampfer getting in. It’s not like he’d bench Staal or sit Nick Holden.
When Glass plays, Twitter just became a lot more interesting. Let the bitch fest begin.