Tanner Glass-Chris Neil sideshow takes center stage

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Of all the possible scenarios heading into the Ottawa-New York series, few predicted a rivalry between Tanner Glass and Chris Neil would blossom, and garner so much attention.

Glass spent more than half the year in the AHL, and only played three games in Round 1. Neil, meanwhile, didn’t play at all against Boston and sat out the first four games against the Rangers.

Yet now, the resident tough guys are front and center. It all started when Neil tried to fight Glass midway through Game 5, in response to Glass roughing up Kyle Turris at the end of Game 4.

Glass was unwilling to go and Neil ended up with 12 penalty minutes, taking his team off the power play. Yet the Sens were thrilled with the response. Turris said it was “the best penalty I’ve seen anybody take in a long time,” while head coach Guy Boucher said Neil made his teammates feel “protected.”

Today, Glass had a somewhat different take.

“He played two minutes, so I don’t know, it’s kind of tough to have a big impact in two minutes,” he said. “If they think he did, then good for them. I don’t think we think he did.”

Neil, for the record, played 2:26 in Game 5. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault pointed that out in the aftermath, saying, “I can’t believe a player playing two minutes and 26 seconds would have, at all, a factor on our group.”

But that didn’t stop Neil from talking it up.

“I just wanted [Glass] to know his fun is done,” the 37-year-old said on Saturday.

When asked for a response today, Glass shot back, “I always have fun. Every day.”

Reporters then pushed Glass further on the issue and, to his credit, he obliged.

“I know what [Neil’s] plan is out there,” he said. “We are going on the power play. I reminded him, this is the playoffs, power plays are huge. If you are going to take away a power play for your team, that’s great with me.

“He can challenge me all he wants. I want to be on the ice playing. I’m having an impact on this series against their good players. Him challenging me to a fight isn’t going to change that. I fought him before, if it comes up I’ll fight him again. But it’s not something I’m looking to do right now.”

Both Glass and Neil are expected to be in their respective lineups for tonight’s all-important Game 6.

And so, the rivalry continues.

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