Calgary Flames' head coach Bob Hartley

Calgary Flames' head coach Bob Hartley

Tanguay to play centre for Flames

CALGARY — When Alex Tanguay broke into the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche back in 1999 he had two options. He could switch from his natural centre position and play left-wing on a line with Joe Sakic, or he could watch from the press box.

CALGARY — When Alex Tanguay broke into the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche back in 1999 he had two options.

He could switch from his natural centre position and play left-wing on a line with Joe Sakic, or he could watch from the press box.

“I became a left-wing then and I’ve been that ever since,” said Tanguay, who was also behind Peter Forsberg and Stephane Yelle on Colorado’s depth chart at centre. “It was fun for me to get to watch some of the best players. I knew I wasn’t going to play that position so I made the adjustment.”

Bob Hartley, who was Colorado’s coach at the time, recalled that he initially tried Tanguay out at centre a few times during practice.

“But we had so many options with Joe and Forsberg,” said Hartley, who was reunited with Tanguay when he signed on to coach the Calgary Flames late last May. “He was a young kid coming in with no NHL experience. To be on Joe’s wing was not a bad thing a better being on the left-wing than eating popcorn upstairs.”

Now, 13 seasons later, Hartley made the decision to put Tanguay back at centre for the first three days of Flames training camp.

“It’s been a while since I played centre,” said Tanguay, who won a Stanley Cup with Hartley in Colorado in 2001. “I used to play it in juniors (with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL). I know how to play it. It’s going to take a little bit of time and I’m going to take as many days as possible to hopefully be ready.”

With Calgary’s home opener slated for this Sunday against the San Jose Sharks, that doesn’t leave much time.

“I’m looking forward to the next few days of practice and hopefully I can improve and get better,” Tanguay said. “I did some video with the coaches on the centre position and what to do and what not to do. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s a great opportunity and we’ll see how it goes.”

Curtis Glencross has been impressed with how much improvement Tanguay has shown so far.

“Obviously, it’s not something that he’s going to be an expert at overnight,” said Glencross, who has played left-wing on Tanguay’s line all three days. “It’s going to take a little bit and every day he’s better and better. Alex has such good vision of the ice and he’s such a smart player.

“He doesn’t really get himself in too many problems. A good player like that can manoeuvre between different positions really easily.”

Blake Comeau played on Calgary’s top line the first two days before Hartley decided to put Lee Stempniak in the right-wing spot on Wednesday.

“I think he’s a natural,” Stempniak said of Tanguay. “You just get your stick down and try to get open and more often than not, he’ll find you, which is a lot of fun for someone who likes to shoot the puck.”

Of course, captain Jarome Iginla is pencilled in to play on the top line once he has recovered from his groin injury. If all goes well, Iginla could make his debut at Flames training camp on Wednesday.

“He’s doing so well that he’s begging me to let him on the ice,” Hartley said. “Tomorrow morning, he’s going to come in, we’re going to test him in the gym and if everything feels good, he’s going to be on the ice.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read