Alex Tanguay is critical of how he was handled last season by Tampa Bay Lightning
Former Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Tanguay did not excuse himself from blame for the way last season went. It was totally forgettable, after all, as he had career lows of 10 goals and 37 points. But Tanguay, who on Tuesday night will for the first time face his former team, was pretty clear he did not believe he was handled properly by then-coach Rick Tocchet.
"The coach has the right to do whatever he feels is right for the team," Tanguay said. "But when we spoke over the course of the summertime, I was definitely told a different story than the one I ended up with in Tampa. It wasn't what I was being told. As a player you at least want to have a chance, and I was frustrated. It's certainly no excuse for my play. I played poorly, and mostly it was my fault. But I got very frustrated with the situation, that's for sure."
Tanguay said he has used that frustration to help fuel what has been a nice comeback season. Tanguay has eight goals and 23 points in 27 games and is plus-3. He also is averaging 19:04 of ice time. Compare that to last season in Tampa after he signed a $2.5 million, one-year, free-agent deal. Tanguay averaged just 15:47 of ice time and had just 91 shots. He already has 41 this season. He also is averaging 3:33 of power play time. He averaged 2:00 last season with Tampa Bay.
"I certainly wasn't enjoying hockey all that much last year," Tanguay said. "I was made out to be pretty much to not be able to play in this league, and not being able to line up on a consistent basis at the end of the year, so it certainly was very frustrating for me and disappointing."
As for using those feeling for motivation, Tanguay said, "I think things were said late in the year last year towards me and where I was headed and how things were going, it certainly motivated me."
As for Tampa Bay's success this season, he added, with a not so subtle slap at the former coach, general manager and owners, "I think it's going to be great for the organization. Tampa is great. They have a great fan base and it's going good for them. I couldn't be more excited for the friends I have on the other side, for them to be in this situation as opposed to the one that was there last year."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Dan Ellis gets the start in net for the Lightning. Tampa Bay's combined .875 save percentage is the league's worst. It's 3.41 goals-against average is second-worst to Edmonton's 3.42. ... Flames defense man Mark Giordano admitted he probably should have held up on the from-behind hit he laid on Simon Gagne during a September preseason game. That hit, Gagne has said, was part of the buildup to the neck problems that sidelined him for 18 games. "It wasn't the cleanest hit," Giordano said. "I definitely wasn't trying to hurt the guy. That one was borderline because I had a lot of speed going at him. Maybe I should have let up a bit because it was a hard hit and I don't know if he knew I was coming or not. It's hard in the heat of the moment, but maybe next time I have to be more aware and just rub him out rather than planting him." Gagne said he has no hard feelings. "Those type of things will happen," he said. ... It should be a nice homecoming for left wing Dana Tyrell, who plays his first NHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, 17 miles south of where he grew up in Airdrie, Alberta. Tyrell, a healthy scratch when the team played here in September, said about 50 family and friends will be at the game. Tyrell said he recalls vividly the Lightning facing the Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup final. "It was crazy around here. The fans were nuts on the streets and everything was going crazy. I wasn't exactly a Tampa Bay fan then. It's weird how things happen." ... Speaking of weird, how about Marty St. Louis tonight playing his 800th career NHL game in the city where his career began in 1998. Not only that, the biggest goal of St. Louis' career occurred in Calgary when he scored in double overtime to give the Lightning a 3-2 win in Game 6 of the Cup final. That set up Game 7 in Tampa, and we know what happened there. "It was probably the biggest goal I've ever scored," St. Louis said. "Probably the biggest I'll ever score. To be bigger than that it has to be Game 7. When I look back on my career and think about the goals I've scored, that's the one that will come into my mind." St. Louis had quite a journey from when he was bought out by the Flames to being brought to Tampa in 2000 by then-GM Rick Dudley. And don't forget the story of how St. Louis was playing about eight minutes a game and on a fourth line when he went in to then-coach Steve Ludzik and asked for more playing time. Listening to St. Louis was the smartest thing Ludzik ever did. As for playing 800 NHL games, St. Louis said, "It means longevity. I'm fortunate to play in this league and been blessed I've been able to play that many games. It's ironic it started in Calgary. Eight hundred games, who would have thought that, right?" ... The team will bus to Banff after the game for a day in the gorgeous mountain town before going to Edmonton to practice Thursday and play Friday. Why not go straight to Edmonton? "I find that if we're somewhere waiting for a game it has a tendency to put us in a comfort zone I don't like," coach Guy Boucher said. "So, changing the hotel, going somewhere and being amazed at something keeps you awake. That's what we're trying to do." besides, he said, "I like to give back. "I ask a lot and am extremely annoying with details with the players. But when they give, I gives back. These guys have given a lot since the beginning of the year. I want more and we'll get more but I think it's a good moment to be in that area, especially for guys who have never been." ... Flames assistant general manager, and former Lightning GM Jay Feaster, said his family got its initiation into Calgary cold when it dropped to minus-40 and snowed for three days. Still, he said, the family has settled in and enjoys the city. Still annoyed with the move, Feaster said, is the family cat, which used to be an outdoor animal but now lives, as Feaster said, "in a snow bowl. He just looks out the window."