[90s fighting games]Red Wings hope new assistant coach Alex Tanguay can help players maximize offensive potential

Tag: 2021-08-04 20:23

  The Detroit Red Wings were searching for an assistant coach who could help players maximize their offensive potential and boost the power play.

  They hired someone with hands-on experience in Alex Tanguay, who isn’t far removed from his playing days.

  Tanguay, 41, was a skilled left wing who tallied 863 points in 1,088 NHL games, mostly for the Colorado Avalanche.

  Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said he was seeking someone who thinks the game from a unique offensive perspective.

  “He’s got offensive beliefs based on his playing experience, his coaching experience, but also just the way his mind thinks of hockey and how to create outnumbered situations,” Blashill said. “One of his greatest strengths is going to be helping our individual players get better within our structure to ultimately find ways to be more offensive. He thinks offense because that’s the way he looks at it, not necessarily because he went to a coaching clinic.”

  The Red Wings ranked second-to-last in the NHL in goals per game (2.23) and the power play (11.4 percent).

  Tanguay will work with the forwards and oversee the power play. He replaces Dan Bylsma, who parted ways with the organization after the season. Blashill said there are no other changes to the coaching staff, so Doug Houda remains as the other assistant in charge of the defense and Jeff Salajko returns as the goaltending coach.

  Tanguay retired as a player in 2016 and became a studio analyst for NHL Network. He spent the past two season as an assistant coach for the AHL Iowa Wild.

  “I know I’m relatively new to coaching but players always have feels you can’t get as a coach,” Tanguay said. “When you experienced it, you got a different perspective on certain things. My job is to build relationships with players and get their trust, put them in situations to succeed. I can’t wait.”

  Tanguay said he benefited by having former accomplished players Bryan Trottier as an assistant coach and Michel Goulet as director of player personnel in Colorado.

  “Every bit of information they gave me I took and ran with it,” Tanguay said. “I knew it had been tried before, it was something they did on the ice previously that worked for a player.”

  Tanguay ran a power play in Iowa that ranked fifth in the AHL in 2019-20 (21.9 percent) but was last this past season (13.9 percent).

  “Sometimes when you look at coaches and what their power-play percentages are of the groups they coached, that can be a little misleading because a lot of it based on the talent that team has,” Blashill said. “I’m very confident Alex can put a structure together, can have a foundation of a power play. I’m confident Alex can help our guys in those individual situations on the power play.”

  Tanguay said of the power play: “This is not about re-inventing hockey, it’s about putting players in situations to succeed and facilitate for them.”

  Tanguay noted the irony of joining an organization that had a heated rivalry with his Avalanche 20-25 years ago.

  “Kris Draper called me and said, ‘You’re the first one to cross that bridge,’ ” Tanguay said. “It was such a unique rivalry. I missed most of the fighting from the ’90s. I was drafted in ’98. We played a few times in the playoffs. It was always such a special place to play, the Joe, and the organization was so good. I understood how much pride those guys had in the Red Wings organization and I’m glad to be a part of the organization now.”

  More: Jeff Blashill updates Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi recovery from injuries