Fight of the year: Glass vs Witkowski

Tanner Glass battles Mark Stuart

Tanner Glass battles Mark Stuart during last night’s Rangers loss to Winnipeg. Getty Images/Photo by Kathy Kmonicek

So much has been made of the Rangers recalling gritty forward Tanner Glass. Maybe too much from the charts contingent who just have become blind to how soft and predictable this team is. They needed an infusion of energy and sandpaper. Glass provided it in a more lively first period than we’re used to seeing.

On one shift, he drove hard to the net for a rebound which drew the ire of the Lightning, who came to Andrei Vasilevskiy’s aid. Unlike most of the second half, this wasn’t a drive by. But rather a hungry determined player searching for a loose puck which annoyed the opponent. This is the kind of stuff Henrik Lundqvist has to deal with all the time.

A couple of shifts later, Glass was challenged by Luke Witkowski. Never one to back away, he accepted the bigger man’s challenge and engaged in a long entertaining fight that lasted over a minute. Both men gave it everything they had. Glass had to deal with Witkowski wearing a visor while his helmet was off for the big battle. This one was easily one of the best fights of the year. Here’s how it looked and was called by the Lightning broadcast:

The first period had more life in it than most of the Rangers’ second half. Players were engaged. Brendan Smith went after a Bolt. Of course, there was a bit of nastiness and edge unlike most periods this team plays. There also was some ugliness with Gabriel Dumont boarding Steven Kampfer from behind with a vicious hit that should’ve resulted in a major. Predictably, the idiots in stripes called it a “two-minute boarding minor.”

What a joke! The Rangers didn’t score. They should have been steamed. What exactly does it take to draw a five-minute boarding major in this league? Unbelievable. The Rangers are 0-for-2 on the power play. Not for lack of chances. An unreal passing play which involved Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich resulted in Vasilevskiy flat out robbing Buchnevich. Rick Nash started it actually.

Chris Kreider also had a great chance but instead of shooting with a full head of steam, he passed. Why? I have no clue. He also didn’t fight during a wild scrum. Injury? Who knows.

But the one noticeable difference is the Rangers have been more engaged with Glass in the lineup. Coincidence? I still am not sure why Kampfer is in for Adam Clendening. But he hasn’t been bad. Kudos to Glass for giving our fans something to get excited about. A real scrap that will be replayed for a while.

A win would be nice. Antti Raanta is standing on his head in the second. He’s stopped 15 shots in the period and 24 overall. Vasilevskiy has 20 saves after making a dozen in a busy first. It is still scoreless with over three minutes left in the period.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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