DETROIT — Lightning left wing Alex Tanguay vowed to work harder to improve his game and said he will follow coach Rick Tocchet's instructions.
What he was not willing to immediately do was put Tuesday's benching behind him.
"I'm going to do everything I can to help this team," Tanguay said Wednesday. "But I feel that I shouldn't be the only one that has to sit out for the record we have, and the only one who has to pay the price."
Tanguay and forward Jeff Halpern sat for the 7-4 loss to the Predators in Nashville that dropped the Lightning to 11-13-9. Coach Rick Tocchet was clear Tanguay was out because of his play. Halpern was benched for a "kind of" disciplinary issue.
Neither said much to reporters after getting the news. Both practiced Wednesday on a line with center Vinny Lecavalier, indicating they will play tonight against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Halpern declined to comment, but Tanguay apologized for Tuesday's brushoff.
"That's not me," he said and added, "I'm going to do everything I can to help this team, work harder, do my job better, do exactly what the coach asks. But (Tuesday) when you asked me the question, I certainly was very frustrated, very upset.
"I never had this happen in 10 years, but I didn't think it was going to come to this. But this is my reality, and my job here with the team is to help it."
It has been a struggle.
Tanguay, 30, signed as a free agent to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, has four goals and 17 points in 32 games. He's on pace for 10 goals, 43 points. His averages are 21 and 64.
He also has zero goals in his past 14 games. The Lightning is 1-7-2 in its past 10.
"I'm working as hard as I can, and I'm watching games, too," Tanguay said. "I made mistakes, but I think out of the un-success we've had the last 10 games, I must not be the only one … and I'm the one who ends up paying the price. I don't think that's 100 percent fair."
Said Tocchet, "Coach's decision. That's it, coach's decision."
Tocchet said he hopes Tanguay uses his anger constructively because an angry athlete can be a motivated athlete.
"But not a pouting athlete," he said. "I don't know if he's pouting, but an (angry) athlete, yeah, use it as motivation."
"Hopefully, it does (motivate)," Tanguay said. "I'll certainly have to find my confidence within myself and find ways to help the team a little bit more, and that's what I'm going to put my energy towards. Hopefully, it will do like it's always been in the past, and it will eventually work out."