GLENDALE, ARIZ. - In the immediate moments afterwards, it looked honey badger nasty.
Midway through the first period, Calgary Flames left winger Alex Tanguay was hit in the face by the puck when Jarome Iginla’s pass attempt ricocheted off a defender’s stick.
The trail of blood went all the way from the front of the Coyotes net to the team’s bench, left behind as Tanguay went to the dressing room.
With the way the injury bug has been chomping on Flames players this season — every time one player returns, it seems another goes down — it could have been horrific.
After all, when Tanguay was on the shelf for 15 games due to a neck injury, Calgary’s offence, especially on the powerplay, took a beating.
Judging by all the red on the ice, the first thought was Tanguay, who wears a visor, was seriously injured and it would’ve taken a miracle for him to return.
At first glance from afar, it had to be either a mushed-up nose or a mouth missing a bunch of teeth.
Tanguay didn’t lose any chiclets because the puck hit him in the cheekbone.
To his credit, after going for repairs and having a full-face shield put on his helmet, Tanguay returned to the bench moments into the second period and was back in full action.
However, Tanguay left the game for good early in the third period.
“He tried it and told me at the start of the third he had blurry vision on that one side, couldn’t see that well out of that eye,” head coach Brent Sutter said. “He didn’t think he could play.
“I’m confident he’ll be ready for Saturday.”
IN THE CREASE
It’s amazing to think what Twitter has done for Phoenix forward Paul Bissonnette. He must be the most well-known player with just 16 games played this season. The only NHLer with more publicity and fewer games is Sidney Crosby ... With so few people at the Jobing.com Arena, why does the volume on the public address have to be so loud. The resulting echo is painful ... After the first save by Leland Irving, Jay Bouwmeester got into as close to a scrum as we’ve seen since he came to Calgary ... Is it the ice here in Phoenix? Iginla sprung himself for a breakaway late in the fist period when he blocked Keith Yandle’s shot attempt but lost possession of the puck just as he tried to make a deke ... Tough first couple of periods for T.J. Brodie. The funny thing was he made a couple of nice moves with the puck before turning it over in the Phoenix zone, a play which led to the first goal of the game ... It wasn’t much better for Mark Giordano.
OFF THE GLASS
Guess we shouldn’t have expected this clash to be as exciting and intense as the clash in San Jose the night before, but this was as thrilling as a pre-season game through two periods. The marketing slogan for this one could have been “We sell you a seat, but you really need a bed.” ... The way Coyotes goalie Mike Smith goes out of his net, and gets caught out of position, it makes you wonder whether his teammates call him “Red Rover.” Teams have to start being better prepared to take advantage of the times Smith is a long ways from his post ... Shane Doan is hardly a dirty player, but he dodged a bullet with that boarding infraction on Giordano late in the second period. Many other players would have been punished harsher than that, but Doan’s reputation helped him there. You could see he immediately was concerned about Giordano and wondering what he had done. “That’s the type of hit you want to eliminate, but Shane Doan is not a dirty player. He apologized right away,” Giordano said.