Acquiring Alex Tanguay after a difficult year in Calgary certainly provoked the questioning of his ability to play under the bright lights of his hometown. The extra media pressure, coupled with the pressure to perform for a new contract only strengthened doubts about whether, or not Tanguay would have a positive impact on his new team.
To say Alex Tanguay is fitting in well would be putting it
mildly. To know that he doesn’t feel he’s got his timing fully intact yet is
promising when you consider that less than a handful of newly acquired players
(traded, or signed as free agents) have had a bigger impact on the scoresheet.
Det: Marian Hossa: 9gp, 5g, 7a, +7
Stl: Andy Macdonald: 8gp, 1g, 11a, -5
Ott: Philip Kuba: 9gp, 0g, 11a, +2
Min: Antti Miettinen: 7gp, 6g, 3a, -2
Mtl: Alex Tanguay: 8gp, 6g, 3a, +6
Montreal fans couldn’t have asked for a better start from
their newest French Canadian hero. While the numbers are impressive, (tied for
6th in goals) his ability as a powerplay point-man, his defensive
prowess, and his willingness to play a physical game have been a bonus for
those who categorized him as “just a talented passer.”
If you were wondering whether or not he’d be a responsible
player in Montreal’s offensive arsenal, his +6 rating thus far speaks to his
consistency as a two-way winger. Throughout eight NHL seasons, Tanguay has
never been a minus, topping out at +35 (2000-2001), and nearly equaling the
mark with a +34, in 2002-2003.
While he’s quiet and unassuming, there’s no question he’s
been thrust into a leadership role on this team. His experience as a Stanley
Cup winner has made him a player to look up to, but his clutch play– scoring a
shootout winner against the Panthers, and scoring on a penalty shot in last
night’s win over Carolina have quickly earned him the respect of his teammates,
Though things rarely pan out as projected, Tanguay’s on his
way to setting career highs in goals, and points. While he may have been
considered as a plan B to Marian Hossa, he costs nearly 2.5 million less, and
fits the Canadiens like cheese on a poutine.
If he can keep his play at this level, Alex Tanguay will be
a Canadien for years to come. Though he grew up a Nordiques fan, his heart now
bleeds Bleu, Blanc, Rouge.