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Scratching J.T. Miller is...head scratching; Rangers seek 9th straight tonight; WJC

Bantering Points for Monday, December 29, 2014.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils hired a bunch of new (old) coaches. It didn't stop the New York Rangers from rolling to their 8th straight victory on Saturday. Derek Stepan potted all three goals and Henrik Lundqvist was sharp when he needed to be in a 3-1 triumph over the Ranger's tri-state rival. The Rangers are clicking and feeling good about themselves, as Friday's optional skate attended by such luminaries as the King himself highlighted.  [Blueshirt Banter]  [NY Daily News]  [NY Post]  [Newsday]  [NY Times]

The Rangers need to rack up a few more wins before the schedule gets substantially harder. [Blueshirt Banter]

The club travels to Dallas in search of their 9th straight victory against the Stars this evening. The Stars are a top-heavy club led by Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. They can score in bunches, but really have problems defending. The game will feature the NHL's two top goal scorers in Seguin (25g) and Rick Nash (23g). It should be an interesting and entertaining game.  [Defending Big D] [Newsday]  [ESPN]  [Fort Worth Star Telegram]  [Dallas News]  [NHL]

J.T. Miller has done everything expected of him and then some as far as on-ice production during his most recent stint with the club. Yet he still finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time. This time, it was the return of Lee Stempniak to the lineup that ushered him out as a healthy scratch.  [NY Daily News]  [Blueline Station]  [The Hockey Writers]

Miller took it in stride and seemed to have the right attitude:

I feel like this last stint up has been my best, or one of my better ones. But at the end of the day, decisions have to be made for our lineup. I didn’t play [Saturday], but I’m not going to be negative about it. I just have to work hard in practice to get back in.

AV didn't have much to say on the topic after the game:

I am not scratching my head over Stempniak drawing in. He's a solid player with a bevy of uses that benefit the lineup. What concerns me is the fact that Tanner Glass doesn't even get mentioned when such a lineup decision has to be made. The Newsday article above doesn't mention him, even anecdotally. It discusses how Stempniak isn't a lock...which is mildly horrifying considering the guy who apparently is a lock. AV seemingly thinks of Glass as an automatic when he isn't mumpy, despite his woeful play. Play that has been well-documented here. But apparently, outside of a few other knowledgeable bloggers and twitterites, we are the only ones calling this out.

When is the mainstream media going to just run even the most simple numbers? him play?

Am I losing my mind? What is he doing in the lineup over J.T. Miller right now? We have multiple players who can be slotted into a 4th line DOZ role and are much more trustworthy with all facets of their game...including defense.

This is where AV gets a knock with me regarding his personnel management. I don't really care what is going on behind the scenes or why Miller is in his dog house, possibly for off-ice reasons. I don't care if he values having things like #thump, #grit, and #jam in the lineup on a nightly basis. Because the on-ice product has been good enough for players like Miller, and poor enough for Glass, that it isn't remotely justifiable.

You literally can't make a cognizable argument with numbers or with your eyeballs that Glass is bringing anything noteworthy to the actual ice surface, other than his reputation for possessing those attributes, as amorphously defined as they are. A reputation that precedes him because, to my eyes, he only possesses terrible hands, a lack of hockey sense, and a lack of ability to keep up with the play.

To those who would say, "Nick calm down. We have won 8 straight," I say shaddup. The Rangers have done so against largely inferior competition, which is still great because it is what they have to do. But matching up against stronger teams with greater scoring depth won't be as easy. And I want the best lineup possible on the ice. One that can be optimally deployed in a multitude of situations. A 4th line with Glass on it is not optimal for anything, given the options he can be replaced with.


The World Junior Championships are under way. We will be bringing you ongoing coverage of Rangers prospects. Most notably, two goaltending prospects had shutout performances and Anthony Duclair did Anthony Duclair things. We also have a WJC Open Thread where you can check the tv schedule and track the action.