While the lineup isn’t official yet we can take a pretty good guess as to what’s going to happen. Pavel Buchnevich skated as an extra yesterday in practice and Dan Girardi seems to be geared to be back in the lineup.
When asked about Buchnevich, the response was as follows:
Vigneault wants to watch Panthers tonight before committing to lines but said Buchnevich has been "a little inconsistent."— Justin Tasch (@J_Tasch) March 16, 2017
I’m not getting into how crazy this is or the ridiculous double standard. Whatever. As I said 10 days ago, we knew this was going to happen:
When Jesper Fast and Michael Grabner come back then who sits? Not Glass. Glass doesn’t sit because Vigneault can’t stop playing with his favorite toys. So it comes down to Pavel Buchnevich or Jimmy Vesey. And it will not be Vesey, lest the Rangers do damage to their continued success in pulling in NCAA free agents. It will be Buchnevich, who has been a spark of light this year and has shown a ceiling so high you can’t see it.
The problem with Glass has always been bigger than his impact (or lack there of) on the ice. It’s been in what he does off the ice.
Although at least Larry Brooks has some sense.
I cannot come up with a rational explanation for sitting Buchnevich.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) March 16, 2017
Anywho, that’s not what this is about. Get a good look at tonight’s lineup, because this is the lineup Alain Vigneault will be going into the playoffs with. If you turn to the right, you will also notice Jeff Gorton allowing this to happen.
Blaming Vigneault for starting an inferior lineup is what it is. We’ve been through this countless times already and people either see the light or remain blind to it by their own intentions. Vigneault’s biggest flaw is his over-reliance on veterans and we see it time and time again.
While he does chose the lineup, there’s enough evidence to what he’s going to do (so much so that I can easily guess his lineup decisions weeks before they happen) that the blame has to fall on Gorton.
Vigneault didn’t call up Glass; Gorton did. Vigneault wasn’t the guy who sent Buchnevich down to the AHL (and only called him up due to a freak injury in practice to Michael Grabner); Gorton did.
If you’re of the mind the Rangers aren’t true Stanley Cup contenders and this doesn’t matter, then it makes even less sense. Buchnevich should be playing, developing and learning. He doesn’t learn from the press box. He doesn’t learn from the AHL. Even fourth-line minutes with power play time is better than those options.
Spare me the “J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes are this good because they sat with tough love last year.” You’re taking away from the natural talent both players have and assuming not playing helped them learn.
Even if you’re of the argument that Glass is playing well (and in three of the four games he has!) he’s not worth playing over Buchnevich. And if he has to play, then maybe Jesper Fast sits. If you think that’s crazy but sitting Buchnevich isn’t ... well, I guess you shouldn’t have read this far in the first place.
This lineup is the lineup. I don’t see a way Glass comes out, and there’s no way Girardi isn’t playing. Kevin Klein (who is reportedly skating) will return but probably won’t play. He’ll be sitting unless Vigneault is going to bench Brady Skjei, Nick Holden or Marc Staal and I don’t think that’s in the cards. Goodnight Steven Kampfer. I’d say goodnight to Adam Cledening but it wouldn’t shock me if he wasn’t even on the team play for road games.
So get a good hard look at this lineup.
And get used to it.