MONTREAL -- Logo first, number second. Deciding he wanted to play for the Canadiens may have been the easy part for Alex Tanguay. The talented winger now has another important choice to make.
Acquired from the Flames on Friday, the eight-year NHL veteran is still mulling over what number he will call his own come training camp.
“With Serge Savard’s No. 18 already in the rafters at the Bell Centre and Maxim wearing the 40 that I wore in Calgary, I haven’t decided what I’ll wear with the Canadiens, yet,” said Tanguay from his home in Lac-Beauport, before leaving on a golf trip. “I wouldn’t mind the No. 13, but if Mats decides to come to Montreal, I’ll happily leave it for him. Maybe I can just invert the No. 18 and go with No. 81. We’ll see.”
After setting a new career high with 81 points in his first season with the Flames in 2006-07, Tanguay endured an uncharacteristically tough campaign last season. With his 58 points marking his lowest total since 2001-02, Tanguay was ready for a change of scenery.
“I’m thankful for professionalism of the Flames organization,” explained Tanguay. “[Calgary GM] Darryl Sutter and I came to the conclusion that it would be best if we parted ways. I’m just really happy to have been traded to the Canadiens.”
As thrilled as he is to be the newest member of the Habs, Tanguay has not forgotten his roots.
“What can I say, I grew up in Quebec with the Nordiques,” said the proud native of St. Justine, QC, one hour from the Colisee. “Peter Stastny was my first idol. When I was a kid, he was one of the best players in the league.”
Even though his beloved Nordiques packed up and left for Colorado in 1995, Tanguay was reunited with his favorite franchise when the Avalanche drafted him 12th overall in 1998.
|Raymond Bourque and Alex Tanguay celabrate after winning the Stanley Cup in 2001. |
That was only the beginning for Tanguay, who then went on to not only play alongside a number of his idols for the Avs, but even sipped champagne from the Stanley Cup with them in 2001.
“I count myself very lucky to have played with so many great players, from Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy, to Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg,” continued Tanguay. “When I first made the team as a 19-year-old, the team insisted that I live with a veteran. Patrick then offered to take me in. We ended up travelling together and that gave us a lot of time to talk. I can tell you that he’s as intense a competitor as they come.”
“I learned a lot from the rest of them, too,” added Tanguay. “The enthusiasm that Ray had for the game was contagious, Joe’s work ethic was unmatched and Peter taught me a lot about protecting the puck. I just hope that now I can do the same for my new teammates.”Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com