Alex Tanguay is here to save the power play. We hope.
Tanguay the player
His name is synonymous with the Colorado Avalanche team of the late 90s and early 00s that the Red Wings had annual meetings with in the playoffs. As a rookie, Tanguay was part of the Avs team that knocked out the Wings in the 2nd round of the 2000 playoffs. The teams were on a collision course again the next season if not for the Los Angeles Kings -- they upset the Wings, 4-2, in the 1st round. Thanks to the Kings, the Avalanche had a clearer path to their second Stanley Cup victory, and Tanguay was a big part of it with 21 points in 23 games in the 2001 playoffs.
The Red Wings, of course, got the last laugh in 2002 when they beat Colorado in seven games en route to a Stanley Cup championship. Tanguay had 13 points in 19 playoff games that year. He remained an offensive threat for the better part of his 17-year NHL tenure. The 12th overall pick in 1998 finished his career with 283 goals and 580 assists in 1,088 games. He scored 62 power play goals through his career, 39 of which were with the Avs. Overall, Tanguay racked up 244 points on the power play in his career.
His number likely would hang from the rafters of Colorado’s arena today if not for a knee injury that led to a trade to Calgary in 2006.
He did return to Colorado in 2013 as a veteran, trying to help the club reestablish itself as a playoff contender. That didn’t happen, but Tanguay still scored 22 goals as a 35-year-old in the 2014-15 season. Colorado traded him again in 2016, this time to Arizona where he played his final 18 NHL games -- there’s a trivia question. He entered the 2016-17 season unsigned, then decided to retire.
Tanguay the coach
He did a short stint as a studio analyst with NHL Network before taking an assistant coaching role with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. That’s what he’s been doing the past two seasons.
When the Red Wings announced his hiring this week they were quick to point out Tanguay oversaw Iowa’s power play. Apparently he had a real hand in their 21.9% power play conversion rate in 2019-20. Yet, it should be noted their PP% fell to 13.9% in 2020-21, the absolute worst in the league. It was a pandemic-shortened season, of course, with the Iowa Wild only playing 34 games. But still, not a great look.
Regardless, the hope is Tanguay can bring a fresh look to the Red Wings offense, and specifically the power play. It can’t get any worse ... right? As we all know, the 2020-21 Red Wings were, at times, very dismal on offense. Their 2.23 goals per game was second worst in the league. There was a stretch in January/February where the Red Wings scored an average 1.625 goals per game over an eight-game losing streak. Somehow their terrible 11.4% (6.7% in February) conversion on the power play was only second-worst in the NHL -- the Anaheim Ducks finished with a power play percentage of 8.9% this season.
Detroit GM Steve Yzerman is giving Tanguay a chance to help Jeff Blashill here, and why not? He has an impressive NHL resume as a player and it appears he’s very serious about being a coach in the league. Might as well give this a try with a rebuilding Detroit team.
Interesting sidenote: Tanguay played one season with Tampa in 2009-10, the season before Yzerman arrived to run the team. He scored 10 goals that season, one of the lowest points of his career. He did not resign with Tampa, and instead went back to Calgary in 2010. Yzerman had the chance and didn’t sign him then, but he is now. Let’s hope he can contribute.
Chelios joins ESPN crew
Former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios will be on ESPN in the upcoming season. Remember ESPN the NHL’s new TV broadcaster. He’ll be one of a list of analysts including Hilary Knight, Ray Ferraro, Brian Boucher, Ryan Callahan, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Rick DiPietro, Ray Ferraro, A.J. Mleczko and Kevin Weekes.
Chelios has limited experience in such a role. I am not sure what to expect from him. Obviously he can offer some superb insight based on his lengthy career and long list of accomplishments at all levels of hockey. We shall see how this goes.
Christian Djoos note
I realize I mistakenly listed defenseman Christian Djoos as a possible Red Wings player who could be exposed during the Seattle expansion draft in my newsletter last week. The catch: Djoos is no longer with the Red Wings. He signed overseas in May. He would have been a restricted free agent this summer, and technically the Red Wings could offer him. But that’s not going to happen.
He originally was claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks back in January.
So you think you know your Red Wings playoff trivia? OK, then who scored these timely goals?
- More: Dear Red Wings Quizzes
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