Alex Tanguay, a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization. If you’d said that out loud in any year from roughly 1999-2004, you might have been committed to a Colorado mental institution for blasphemy. In the year 2021? It’s a reality.
“The hockey world is a small world,” Tanguay chuckled to Colorado Hockey Now Wednesday afternoon.
The Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry was a literal Blood Feud (gee, someone should have written a book about that).
Tanguay on Wednesday accepted an assistant coach position with the Red Wings. After a couple of years in the Minnesota Wild organization as an assistant coach, the former Avs left wing and first-round pick from 1999 will serve as one of the underlings to head coach Jeff Blashill.
As Tanguay said in a podcast with me a few months ago, he’s been ready to take the next step in the coaching ranks. The Avs-Wings rivalry has cooled just a bit from those days of yesteryear, but Tanguay acknowledged that many longtime Avs fans probably did a double-take when they saw the news today.
“Even though we battled for the championship vs. the Red Wings in the early 2000s, we always had great respect for the quality of their players and individuals, and I think the feeling was same on their side as well,” Tanguay said. “There were great competitors on both sides.”
Alex Tanguay was a great power-play performer as a player, and he is fast developing a reputation as a top coach in that area now. He could be the person in charge of revitalizing a Red Wings power play that was once awesome but has been awful the last few years. Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made the hire. Tanguay worked with Iowa (AHL) in the Wild organization the last two years.
Iowa had one of the AHL’s most productive offenses, improving from 3.08 goals per game in 2019-20 to 3.15 goals per game over a 34-game schedule in 2020-21. The Wild also had the second-best shot-per-game average in the AHL in each of the past two seasons, averaging 32.68 combined in Tanguay’s stint with the club.
After retirement, Tanguay worked briefly as an analyst for the NHL Network.
“I’m happy to be working with Jeff, Steve and the Detroit Red Wings organization,” Tanguay said.
Who woulda thunk it?