Why does Alain Vigneault think Tanner Glass is a good hockey player? At this point, that question is a riddle with no answer. It may even be likely that it’s the wrong question all together. Maybe Vigneault doesn’t like Glass at all and he’s being forced upon him by a belligerent front office?
Sure, Vigneault and Glass are familiar with one another from their days in Vancouver. With Vigneault fresh off a Stanley Cup Final appearance with the Rangers, he seemingly got his way by getting the Rangers to sign Glass this summer. The head coach gushed over him in training camp, as if he sincerely believed Glass would help the team. But the manner in which Vigneault has deployed him in games indicates that the coach is cognizant of Glass’ suckitude.
Here is why.
Vigneault typically will use his fourth line to take extreme defensive zone starts as a means to give his offensive players more opportunities. He deployed this strategy to perfection last season with Dominic Moore, Derek Dorsett, and Brian Boyle starting nearly 50% of the time in the defensive zone. That line was a big part of the Rangers success last season, because even though they were given brutal defensive zone duties, they still managed to hover right around 50% possession at even strength.
The Rangers traded Derek Dorsett for a third round pick and as a way to clear a roster spot and cap room to sign Glass. So one would think that Vigneault (or the front office, or both) viewed Glass as a one-for-one replacement. Hell, considering the contract, they had to have thought he was an improvement. Except Vigneault hasn’t used Glass the way Dorsett was. Not even close.
Glass has the lowest percentage of defensive zone starts on the team. Which is a clear indication from the coach that he has no faith in his ability to be solid defensively. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Yet, he hasn’t scratched Glass once and has gone to extreme lengths to keep him in the lineup. Including scratching Anthony Duclair and demoting JT Miller and Jesper Fast to Hartford.
If Glass is touted as a fourth line player who can play tough minutes, why has Vigneault given him the exact opposite of tough minutes this season? Why is Vigneault still struggling to find a replacement for last year’s fourth line?
The mishmash of a fourth line that Vigneault put together against the Maple Leafs last night of Glass, Duclair, and Kevin Hayes is a clear cry for help. It’s not a formidable line for the long-haul and it forced Vigneault to use Dominic Moore, Lee Stempniak, and Carl Hagelin as his extreme defensive zone start line. Which would be okay, if the Rangers then had a third line capable of scoring or at least maintaining offensive zone pressure. Except Glass and the two poor souls stuck playing with him are woefully incapable of doing that.
The Rangers bottom six is a a dumpster fire and Vigneault seems to know it. The problems start with Glass and even though they don’t end there, a resolution will not come until Glass is launched into the darkness of outer space. It’s painfully obvious to the fans and Vigneault’s usage of Glass indicates he agrees.
So what the hell is going on with Vigneault and Glass?