As Flames continue to sink at home, Tanguay reaches for answers that may lie in his Colorado tenure
Turn of the centure Avalanche were a powerhouse at home, which led to guaranteed playoff berths
It’s the millstone draped ‘round their necks. The anchor dragging them beneath the surface of the water and down into the icy abyss.
A 2-5-2 record at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Six of a possible 18 points.
That’s not only downright dangerous.
It’s seriously suicidal.
As the home frustrations mount, Alex Tanguay must be tempted to dab away a wistful, nostalgic harkening back to his formative years in Denver, where the Avalanche held absolute sway. Tanguay’s first campaign in Colorado, 1999-2000, the Avs won 25 of 41 home starts, piling up 55 of a possible 82 points at the newly-opened Pepsi Centre. The next season, 27 wins.
There’s an old mathematical formula for reaching the post-season: Play .700 hockey home and break-even on the road, and you’ll be around when the real fun starts come mid-April. Well, the Flames have the road part more than down so far, chalking up four wins in six tries. The other half of the equation ... uh, not so much.
“There’s definitely a confidence you develop,” said Tanguay. “Playing for Colorado years ago, we came out knowing in our building that whoever we were playing, it was going to take a great game to beat us. You just ... knew.
“It was a feeling we had.
“That kind of confidence comes from within. It needs to be grown, it needs to be taught, needs to be cultivated. I know Bob (Hartley) has been trying to change the mindset here, change the mentality. A mentality where you do have a little bit of that swagger at home, that says to you and anybody that plays here: ‘Hey, this is our house. You’re not gonna come in and take anything away from us.’
“For whatever reason, here, we just don’t execute the way we should. I’m certainly to blame for that. There’s other guys to blame for it, too. But ultimately it comes down to everyone just buckling down and down their job.”
The malaise began with a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on opening night and has continued on, unabated. The last the 3-1 slapdown by the Cup-champion L.A. Kings on Wednesday.
“We’re certainly squeezing the stick a little tighter here. And when things don’t go our way, maybe we squeeze a little more. We all feel we should be performing a whole lot better at home. Do we put too much pressure on ourselves? I don’t know ...
“It’s beyond frustrating but we have to roll up our sleeves and. We have two more games at home this week (Saturday vs. Minnesota, Sunday against Phoenix) to get this turned around.
“We’re almost a third of the way into a 48-game season. And we’re two games below .500. I mean, do the math. There isn’t too much more room for error.”
Especially not here, where, so far, playoff dreams are going to die.
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