Flames wing Alex Tanguay to Tampa Bay Lightning fans: my bad
Flames wing Alex Tanguay plays tonight for the first time at the St. Pete Times Forum since his disastrous 2009-10 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tanguay said he has some good memories from his days with the Lightning -- "My son was born here, so I have a little Floridan in the family" -- but he regrets leaving Lightning fans with such a poor impression.
"You always wish you didn't have to go through those processes , but I did," said Tanguay, who had career lows of 10 goals and 37 points for Tampa Bay. "I wish I could come back here and play a full year and show Tamp fans I'm a better player than I was the year I was here. This is my reality and I feel bad about it. I'd give anything back to get another shot at that year. It is what it is now. I'm just trying to learn from that experience and move on."
As for his post-Christmas performance in which he had four goals in 42 games, he said, "I wish I could erase it from my memory."
What did Tanguay learn? Basically that his poor season, which included being scratched for the first time in his career, is on him.
"Hockey is a game where you have to work extremely hard," he said. "In order to be successful, you have to have your head in the right place and, obviously, at times I realized in looking back at the things I had done here in Tampa, my head was not always in the right place. I was not focusing on the right things. It wasn't like I wasn't working hard on the ice but I didn't have my head in the right place, and when you don't do that you don't have the type of success that you're looking for."
Tanguay, 32, had 22 goals 69 points last season for Calgary and has five goals, 19 points in 29 games this season.
Other stuff from the morning skate: Mathieu Garon gets the start in net for the Lightning. ... Former Lightning D Cory Sarich is expected to be a healthy scratch for the Flames. ... Lighting coach Guy Boucher was very negative about the prospects of seeing defenseman Mattias Ohlund back any time soon. Basically, Boucher said, Ohlund's knees are "worn down." Ohlund had arthroscopic surgery on both on Oct. 11 to clean out "loose bodies," but the recovery has been slow and painful and Ohlund is not even skating. "It's not about damage," Boucher said. "He's had enough damage over the years. It just becomes something that's difficult to manage because you can't do much more than has been done. It's pain tolerance now. It's a question of mobility. It's a question of can he skate at the level in the NHL that he needs to follow?" ... If you haven't noticed, center Blair Jones is wearing a visor for the first time in the NHL. He said the last straw was taking a blow across the nose Dec. 3, when he ran into Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. "I just felt like I couldn't go a couple of games without getting something in the face," Jones said. Sure enough, he said, a puck during Thursday's morning skate deflected off his stick and hit him in the visor. Luckily, he said, "I can kind of laugh about it." ... Boucher's summing up of the season so far: "Adversity, adversity, adversity."