WINNIPEG - Under normal circumstances, Tanner Glass is not one to spend much time on sentimentality.
But the Winnipeg Jets winger admitted that Thursday’s game against his former employer, the Vancouver Canucks, is going to get the juices flowing.
After all, the last time he played in Rogers Arena, the Canucks dropped a 4-0 decision to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
“It’s one I’ve had circled on my calendar all along,” said Glass, who spent the previous two seasons with the Canucks and will face his old mates on Thursday night as the Jets open a two-game trip that also includes a stop in Calgary to face the Flames on Friday. “You try not to look too far ahead at it, but now that it’s here, I’m sure it’s going to be fun. I have a lot of friends on that team and a lot of familiar faces in the city. I’m looking forward to it.”
Glass was interested in returning to the Canucks, but after becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1, he found an offer from the Jets that was too good to pass up.
As it turned out, Glass carved out a bigger role with the Jets and has established career highs for goals (five), assists (nine) and points (14) while playing on the popular GST Line with Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn.
“You have to go where you’re wanted, I saw this as a good opportunity to come in and play more and be part of a special season,” said Glass. “When (the Jets offer) came up, it made it an easy decision. This year and the experience in Winnipeg has been so good that going back to Vancouver isn’t going to be difficult. It’s going to be fun, a good challenge.”
Although the Jets are heating up after an eight-game homestand, on which they went 5-1-2, facing a team like the Canucks — who lead the Western Conference with 90 points — is sure to present a challenge for a team trying to remain in eighth place in the East.
“Any time you can measure yourself against one of the top teams in the league at this point of the year is good,” said Glass. “We feel good about our game and I’m sure they do too. It’s a chance to go in there and make a statement.”
One area of Glass’s game that doesn’t get enough recognition is his physical play and ability to deliver a bodycheck, as he entered Tuesday’s action tied for seventh in the NHL in hits with 206 in 67 games.
“That’s been me since peewee, being physical has always been a part of my game,” said Glass. “I pride myself on being a physical player. I don’t know, I have a knack for it, I guess. If you can make good reads, you’re going to get hits.
“A puck mark on my stick and a hit is always the best thing to get me going.”
Glass’s willingness to throw the body around and make sacrifices (he has 45 blocked shots and six fighting majors) isn’t lost on head coach Claude Noel.
“The way that he plays is infectious and it leads to more physicality in the game,” said Noel. “That’s what I like. We know he’s going to play that way, that’s the way that he plays. But he brings other people into that portion of the game, which is important.”