If there’s going to be a team to keep an eye on all year it’s going to be the Calgary Flames. Not because they’re a true Stanley Cup contender but because of the test of fans faith Daryl Sutter made with the team’s off-season moves. While a lot of attention has been paid to signing Olli Jokinen, the other side of the Flames reclamation project is forward Alex Tanguay.
The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek caught up with Tanguay to see what his mindset is like going back to Calgary after back-to-back disappointing seasons with Montreal and Tampa Bay.
“Last year was my 10th season in the league,” he said, “and looking back after the season, I couldn’t believe how poorly I handled the situation. As a player, you’re paid to be a professional. I felt mentally I wasn’t where I needed to be – and that affected me throughout.
“Halfway through the year, I seriously thought, ‘Is this it?’ I wasn’t liking it very much. At the end of the summer, I realized how much I missed playing in the playoffs and how much I like hockey. I’m in a good place mentally right now and a good place physically. I’m out to prove myself. I’m 30 years old. I’ve still got lots of hockey ahead of me.”
It’s crazy to think that a 30 year-old player could possibly be done as a prime producer in the league. It’s also possible that both his and the Lightning’s lack of success on the ice could lead for a player’s head to go in the tank and not really have their heart into it at the moment. If that mental side of the game was Tanguay’s problem, teaming up with another guy in need of a career boost in Jokinen and playing with Jarome Iginla could either prove to be a great story or a magnanimous mistake in what could prove to be Daryl Sutter’s last stand in Calgary.