Alex Tanguay had a different air about him yesterday.
A comfortable air.
More importantly, the highly touted Calgary Flames forward -- who has failed to live up to lofty offensive expectations so far -- believes he's finally on the right track with his new squad.
"I'm starting to get my legs and see my spot on this team," Tanguay said after practice at the Saddledome. "I'm starting to feel this is my team. There was an adjustment seeing different jerseys and now
I feel I fit in better."
Tanguay's move to the Flames following an off-season trade from Colorado hasn't exactly started with a bang.
While the team has struggled out of the gates en route to a 2-4-1 record, Tanguay has had middling success of his own, with two goals and two assists in seven games.
However, thanks to better performances in the last two outings, he'll go into tomorrow's home clash against the Phoenix Coyotes believing his game is rounding into the form.
"It's starting to come," Tanguay said in between bites of an orange. "There was a lot of criticism early in the season, especially after five games and in Montreal. I know I have to play better, I know what I have to do to play better.
"I feel the last couple of games I'm starting to skate, my confidence is coming up and I'm starting to see exactly where I fit into this team.
"I'm doing my thing instead of thinking, 'Should I be doing this or should I be doing that?' I know the system, I know what I have to do. It's just a matter of just reacting to what's going on."
Whether it was a decision predicated by Tanguay's improved play or the injury to centre Stephane Yelle, the left winger found himself on a new line yesterday.
Head coach Jim Playfair has returned Tanguay to the No. 1 unit with Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow for yesterday's practice.
It was a trio used through the first few games of the season with little success but Tanguay expects better the second go-around.
"I feel the first three games, when I was playing with Jarome and Daymond, they were playing good, I just wasn't moving," he said. "If we play together now, hopefully it can be different. Hopefully we can play well and be better for the team.
"I think we're all aware of where we are on the ice, now. Looking at the first few games, I watched a lot during the games to see what everybody's tendency was, so you get to know everybody better."
Iginla was excited about the reunion.
"The last game we all played together we all had a lot of chances that didn't go in," the captain said. "It's about scoring chances and percentages, if we can get the chances, we'll get them (goals). Every game, you feel a bit more familiar and if you get enough good chances, they'll go in.
"Sometimes, lines change and you go back and get hot together. I think this can be one of those times."
For his part, Playfair was noncommittal as to whether he would ice the trio against the Coyotes.
If not, Tanguay will continue to skate on a line with Chuck Kobasew and Matthew Lombardi.
Either way, he feels more at home at the 'Dome. Forgotten through his early season struggles was the adjustment he's been making off the ice.
Through his career, Tanguay has been able to fade into the shadows behind the likes of Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake.
He'd never been under a microscope like the one that awaited him in the Stampede City.
"It is very different," Tanguay said. "There's definitely a lot of scrutiny here and everything is analyzed by everybody because the fans want to know what's going on. Hockey's in the spotlight here and it's something I have to deal with.
"I'm comfortable with it. It's a hockey market and a place everybody loves hockey. For a hockey player, it's fun to be in a city where you know you'll be cheered after you do well."