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Some Final Words On Tanner Glass

Just a few thoughts about Tanner Glass the person, not the player.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue to evolve in our hockey coverage we've attempted to evolve the way the game itself is evolving. Analytics are becoming a bigger and bigger part of hockey, like it or not. And much like baseball, the resistance from some of the older guards has been loud and annoying.

We've been just as loud and annoying from the other side, though. As some of the media members and fans brush the stats away with the back of their hand we've upped the ante to try and show not only why these stats are useful but how they can be applied to further explain what your eyes are showing you.

As of right now there isn't a middle ground (although that's ironic because I've always mandated you need to blend the stats with what you're seeing).

Tanner Glass, by no fault of his own, became the face of this argument for both sides. The old guard continued to argue hockey teams needed toughness lest other teams take advantage of a goon not being in the lineup and somehow translate that into winning a hockey game. Those who utilize fancy stats (I might drop this name because the stats really aren't all that fancy) argued skill needs to trump toughness because toughness doesn't help put the puck into the back of the net and generally those players have terrible possession numbers and that impacts their linemates and the rest of the team.

Alain Vigneault has always had the red flag of over-utilizing elder guardsman who have earned his trust despite the results not backing that trust up on the ice. Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis playing prime roles in clutch situations when their numbers began to decline rapidly (along with their play on the ice) is the prime example.

Actually, this is becoming a big sticking point in the NHL as a whole. In the salary cap era unwavering loyalty to aging players is costing teams in the long term. Look at the Mike Richards situation in Los Angeles. Or the Dan Girardi situation in New York. Boston has gone through it (and might continue to). General Managers need to have ice in their veins. They need to be emotionless sometimes. It's a cutthroat job in a cutthroat industry. If a player can only help you today and not tomorrow you can't pay him because of yesterday no matter how good it might have been. It's just the way it needs to work. It's cold but winning isn't easy. It will never be easy. And you agreed to root for an organization and the players who play there in that order.

Anyway, back to Glass. Glass the person is a genuinely good guy. Run back through the handshake line with the Penguins last year in the playoffs and almost every former teammate gave him an enormous hug and spent a few extra moments talking to him. Past teammates swear by him. He will literally do whatever it takes to win and not complain for a moment. He quite literally put his body on the line every time he dropped the gloves or blocked a shot. He's a You Can Play advocate and I'm sure he was a good guy off the ice in charities and events.

But those things aren't good enough when the product on the ice isn't good enough. For a younger team who doesn't have a chance in the world of making the playoffs and wants a veteran in the room to help guide them for a year or two, Glass' presence wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. For the New York Rangers, Stanley Cup Contenders with pressure mounting to finally deliver The Silver? Glass was the paperweight you kept having to move around your desk to get to the files you needed. He slowed the game down (not in the good way), dragged down his linemates, didn't provide offense or defense and sucked possession out of the group when he was on the ice.

Basically, this decision might have been tough for Vigneault -- he might have been forced into it, too, who knows? -- but it was the right one. It makes the Rangers better right now and it allows younger, more skilled hockey players to rightfully claim a place on this team.

The breed of the enforcer might be dying, but that doesn't mean you can't tip your hat to a guy who gave his all for a hockey team even if it wasn't good enough. I think a lot of the times we used Glass as an example for why advanced statistics work it came off as an attack on Glass personally and that was never the intent. Ever.

To clarify, waiving Glass was the right thing to do. It should have been done a really long time ago. It shouldn't have taken a full year, a full playoff cycle, a full training camp and seven addition NHL games to get to this point. The contract should have never been offered and his role on the team never should have been so secure.

But none of that was his fault. And while his name was tossed around wildly in this debate as we continue to try and explain analytics, I want it to be clear that it was always about Glass the hockey player, not Glass the person.

So thank you, Tanner, for your service to the New York Rangers. I genuinely wish you success wherever you go.