SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' Tanguay wears full face shield

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:41 PM ET

Back at practice for the first time since a high stick in Saturday’s loss, Alex Tanguay was all smiles.

Best of all, he didn’t need any new teeth to flash it.

“I was lucky. If he hits me probably half an inch higher, I probably get seven or eight teeth knocked out,” Tanguay said of the whack he took in the jaw during a 7-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Saddledome, which lead to a visit from the dentist and some exploratory examinations to evaluate the damage.

“Nothing was done. During the game we took X-rays to see if the jaw was broken, because I was numb. I guess when (the stick) hit me, it hit a nerve. I was numb like you are numb at the dentist. Same thing as if they froze me.

“I was numb until late Sunday during the day.”

With no games until Wednesday’s meeting with the Detroit Red Wings, the Flames were given Sunday off.

Tanguay took an extra day to recover, and came back to the ice wearing a full face shield.

“The jaw was pretty sore (Monday). I wasn’t feeling so good, so they let me rest and stay home,” he said. “I feel better today. Hopefully the jaw keeps feeling better and better.”

Practising in his usual left-wing spot alongside Matt Stajan and Jarome Iginla Tuesday, the 30-year-old admitted he had a little difficulty spotting the puck in some situations.

“It’s just when the puck’s in close,” said the slick passer who has four goals and four helpers in 11 games so far.

“I remember when I was bantam, midget, I never really noticed it. Then when you take it off, (and put it back on), it’s like, ‘woah, I can’t see the puck in certain places.’ You have to do things differently.

“I guess with the age, you get a bit stiffer, so the neck doesn’t go as far.”

He’s not sure whether or not he’ll keep the full shield for Wednesday’s tilt with the Red Wings, but he’s certain he’s playing.

“If I have to wear it, I’ll wear it, but we’ll see how it goes,” Tanguay said.

As for the pre-game meal, he might have to stick to pasta and stay away from anything tougher to chomp down on.

“I can chew up and down,” he said with a laugh, his jaw looking a little awkward.

“I can’t really chew sideways, so I’m trying to keep it as soft as possible right now.”

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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