Tanguay's late tally helps heal rejection

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Early in the day Alex Tanguay finally came clean: He's still a little bitter.

Bitter at the way the Colorado Avalanche blamed him for the team's playoff loss and bitter over their refusal to offer the restricted free agent one of the many contracts being thrown around last summer.

Hours later, as the clock ticked down on a 5-2 Flames win over his former club, Tanguay issued one more statement.

This one he made with his stick, sending a rare shot on goal that found the back of the net for his fifth of the season.

The typically reserved winger punctuated it with a look skyward that just so happened to be in the direction of Avs GM Francois Giguere, who looked down from his uncomfortable perch in the broadcast booth.

Coincidence?

"That was just a coincidence -- I might have had bad thoughts at one point but I wouldn't do something like that," said Tanguay after piecing together his sixth two-point effort in the club's last nine outings.

"I was just relieved -- I was a little stressed out about the game. There are a lot of good memories (from Colorado) and the first time I played those guys I certainly wanted to do well. This day was certainly in the back of my mind from day one and it's nice to get it over with."

More importantly, it was nice to get two points in a crucial division game."

It was indeed sweet revenge for the 27-year-old Frenchman whose seven-year stay in Colorado came to an end draft day when the Avs decided the Flames should send them Jordan Leopold in exchange for negotiating rights to the four-time 20-goal scorer.

Tanguay has long insisted the parting was amicable, that he held no grudges and that he simply looked forward to a new chapter in his career -- a chapter that will pay him $15 million over the next three years.

Yesterday he wanted the record set straight mere hours before him and his teammates worked en masse to prove the Avs came out on the short end of the deal.

"I was traded so obviously there's a little remorse or whatever," said Tanguay.

"It's not bitterness. I'm not bitter -- they have a job to do. But they tried to make it sound like it was a money issue and it wasn't.

"They didn't offer me any money and there are other players making as much money as me on the other team, so it's just a matter of them not wanting me. I wish they would have been maybe a little more straightforward with the media on that. That said, I have no hard feelings. It was a great organization."

Called for tripping late in the game after dumping longtime teammate Joe Sakic, Tanguay insisted there was no conversation with Avs on the ice or pleasantries exchanged.

"I tried to keep it quiet out there -- it's tough because they're still friends," said Tanguay, who dined with an Avs colleague Monday night.

"But playing those guys so many times I'm trying to cut the bridge. It was very strange, no doubt about it."

Rewarding too, as Tanguay's top unit used their speed to draw penalties and capitalize minutes later.

"It is a big deal -- obviously I'd like to prove to them a little something," said Tanguay, reiterating how important it was he have a good showing last night.

"But on another train of thought I have a job to do here and I'm a Flame and am very happy about it. I'm just really relieved this game's over with."

Given their performance, so are the Avs.


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