SUN Hockey Pool

New role for Tanguay

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

The twinkle in his eye isn't there, but Alex Tanguay insists he's not frustrated with his lot in life.

The Calgary Flames left-winger is not about to voice displeasure about being a forgotten man on the port side.

Tanguay's disappointment stems over what he's accomplished personally so far this season when it comes to the offensive side of the equation, even though of late he's being counted more as a defensive forward than offensive catalyst.

"I've always been a scorer, so I'd like to score. I guess it's the role I have and I'm accepting it," he said. "Things are going well for the team -- and that's what we play for, to win.

"As a player, we all have our pride, and all have a certain way we want to play and a certain way we expect ourselves to play. It's certainly not going all that great for me, but what can I do about it. I've just got to worry about the next game, and, hopefully, be better tomorrow."

Heading into tonight's clash with the Phoenix Coyotes, Tanguay has collected 10 goals and 33 points in 40 games. It's behind the pace he's set in recent campaigns, but that's just the beginning of the cloud hovering over him.

While Kristian Huselius has flourished in the top-line left-winger -- earning the NHL's second star of the week honours with yet another prolific spell -- Tanguay has been demoted to the second unit.

Compound it with the fact he's not on the top powerplay unit, and Tanguay's offensive totals have taken a hit. Instead, he's becoming more noticeable for his penalty-killing duties -- a role he didn't have last season when he racked up a career-best 81 points, skating mostly alongside Jarome Iginla.

"I don't think it's about playing with Jarome. My last few years in Colorado, I wasn't playing with Joe (Sakic)," he said. "I've got to be a little better and that's it."The team's winning, so everybody's happy, but I'd definitely like to score more. I've been a point-per-game guy for three or four years and it seems like this year they don't come about.

"I'm used in a little different situation. When you look at the ice time, you have five minutes on the penalty kill, it doesn't give you much time to put the puck in, but things are going well and I'm just trying to help the team."

The fact Tanguay can be such an effective penalty killer has come as something of a surprise.

But head coach Mike Keenan said Tanguay -- who he likened to Steve Larmer -- has the smarts to be a good penalty killer.

"You'll see him break up a number of plays because he's anticipating it," Keenan said.

Tanguay isn't surprised he's excelling with that duty.

"I always had confidence I could get the job done penalty killing, I just wasn't given the opportunity," he said. "I was as good defensively last year as I am this year, and this year I'm killing penalties. Last year, I couldn't play at the end of the game because I wasn't good enough in my own zone.

"It's a role I'm given, I'm trying to make the best of it. I consider myself a smart player, I don't know if I really am or not, but I think I know where to go on the ice.

"I always got blamed for my defensive game, and now I'm a defensive specialist," Tanguay continued.

"I've always been a player that's not going to outphysical or overpower, I've always had to use my smarts to do the things I had to do on the ice, and I try to do the same on the penalty kill.

"I try to be aggressive when I have to. I try to be at the right position at the right time and it's working great there."


Videos

Photos