SUN Hockey Pool

Tanguay denies reports

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Alex Tanguay denied having agreed to waiving his no-trade clause and said Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter hasn't asked for him to, despite the rampant reports.

That said, it appears the veteran left winger can guess the club may try to trade him.

"We haven't talked about it," Tanguay said after yesterday's skills competition at the Saddledome. "We don't know what's gonna happen. Obviously, I can see what's going on, when you pay a guy the money I'm making and given the role, stuff like that, maybe with the new bargaining agreement and the salary cap, we'll see what they decide to do.

"As for now, I'm a Calgary Flame. I've been professional up to this point -- always given my best effort -- and I'm gonna continue to do that."

Tanguay has been the subject of a plethora of trade rumours lately, which appear to be gaining steam -- especially with Sutter out east watching NHL games this past week.

During Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Kings, TSN analyst Pierre McGuire said Tanguay had agreed to waive his clause.

"I don't recall saying that to Pierre," Tanguay said. "(I don't know) if he's heard it somewhere. I've got a great relationship with Pierre, but we never talked about it, so I can't say it's coming from me."

Sutter was on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast Saturday night and also denied the reports.

Tanguay has been rumoured to be part of a trade with the Montreal Canadiens, in big part because the Habs assistant GM watched a couple of Flames games. After this season, he has one more year on his contract worth US$5.375 million.

Although better than a point-per-game player the past three seasons -- last year he had a career-best 81 points -- Tanguay has 11 goals and 38 points through 49 games this season. However, he's been on the second line much of the year, is not on the first powerplay unit and has been asked to play more of a checking role, including killing penalties.

"I'm getting paid a lot of money for what I've done in the past, and I've got a different role this year," Tanguay said. "I think I've played well within the role I was given. I think I'm capable of doing more. I've always said that, but I'm not going to worry about the rumours or anything like that, I'm gonna try to be as professional as I can about it and play my hardest. That's all I can do, and we'll see what comes out of it.

"Time is gonna tell us what's gonna happen."

The uncertainty over Tanguay is about the only black cloud currently in the Flames room. Sitting in first place in the Northwest Division prior to last night's action, the club has rebounded from a dreadful November.

Still, the rumours and scrutiny Tanguay has faced lately has been noticed.

"It's hard to hear every day, -- it can wear on anybody," said centre Craig Conroy. "I feel bad, because it's in the paper every day and has to be pressure, but he never talks about it, (instead) coming in here laughing and joking around having fun.

"He's doing a lot of things (for us). Maybe the points aren't where they're expected, and maybe he's taking the heat. But look at the last game. Even though he probably doesn't want to be in that (checking) role -- he wants to be more offensive -- he's doing a great job.

"He's so good, you're not going to find many players that good," Conroy added. "He's not playing with Jarome and not playing on the first powerplay, and if you look at every player in the league on the second powerplay and on the second line, I'd bet he's leading in points."

Still, in a salary-capped NHL, and the Flames likely needing space to re-sign rising star defenceman Dion Phaneuf and hoping to do the same with one of Daymond Langkow or Kristian Huselius, it would be hard to fit Tanguay in with next year's Flames.

"We'll see what happens," Tanguay said. "I'm a Flame, and I'm just gonna try to do the best I can to win.

"I'm just waiting -- just like you guys, I guess."


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