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For the faction of Pittsburgh Penguins fans who gravitate to the hard-checking, unsung-hero type; Tanner Glass has heard your calls and will gladly be your new Matt Cooke. With the obvious exception of Sidney Crosby, there has not been a better Penguin forward the last week and a half than Tanner Glass (or Tyler Glass if you work for NBC Sports). No, he is not lighting the stat-sheets on fire. His two point effort, an assist and empty-net goal, in last night’s snoozefest um!- game against the Buffalo Sabres were his first tallies in six games. Heck, Glass had not netted a goal since October 28th verses the Carolina Hurricanes. Scoring not being his bag, Tanner Glass has been contributing to the Pens in ways the superstars couldn’t/shouldn’t. Glass is doing what every good grinder in the NHL should be doing for their team . . .
He’s destroying fools! With extreme prejudice!
Tanner Glass has been a hit machine the last couple of games. A absolute monster to play against. Glass has finished 20 checks in his last seven games, including 13 against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. On the season, Glass has 154 hits in 38 games. But what’s that? He hits, so what?
On the surface, Glass’s physicality is a shrug of the shoulders. A guy that exclusively hits will usually end up a journeyman with a short stay in the NHL. The league’s alumni book is filled with examples. But Glass’s hits are not just noise. They are manifestations of his leadership.
Look at the Stars game. When the Penguins started to get spanked and needed a lift, Glass answered the challenge. He tried everything short of grabbing a steel chair and whacking a guy with it to spark his team. You think he dished out 13 hits to primarily establish a physical presence? Nonsense. In the last ten minutes of the game, Glass looked like the only Penguin still playing.
Disagree? Then why did Pens head coach Dan Bylsma put him on the first line down by three? That was not a reward (starting him there in the Sabres game was). That was trying to get Crosby and Kunitz to play with the same desire. That was good coaching. That was the moment Tanner Glass became a fan favorite (if he wasn’t already).
For all the winning the Penguins do, they do not have a vocal guy on the ice when losing creeps it’s face around. Tanner Glass is looking like he’ll be that guy (so is Rob Scuderi, but this is a article about Glass). Having a teammate who will put their body on the line to help the cause is essential when trying to chase down a Stanley Cup. Those other guys can have all the goals and glory. Tanner Glass will stick to hitting and hopefully that will lead to bigger glories for everyone.
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