Winning Hockey Games...Is Fun? Alex Tanguay Thinks So

CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 20: Alex Tanguay #40 of the Calgary Flames celebrates his goal at 10:53 of the third period during the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20 2011 in Calgary Alberta Canada. The Flames defeated the Canadiens 4-0. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)


At least, that's what Calgary Flame's LW Alex Tanguay would have us believe.

From Tony Gallagher's March 11 piece on Tanguay in The Province:

[Said Alex Tanguay] "Maybe Brent has lightened up a bit. It’s got to be pretty hard being in a situation of your older brother looking over your shoulder at everything you do. We’ve been winning, too, and that’s part of the reason he’s loosened up. It’s a lot more fun playing now than it was earlier in the year and I’m enjoying the game and enjoying playing. Winning has a lot to do with that."

Seriously though, while there's no doubt that winning is fun, I doubt that fun leads to more winning. Unless it's a Disney Channel movie about Hawaiian snowboarders. The problem here is that it's far too easy to establish a false narrative saying something along the line of "They're playing loose right now, that's how they've gotten to a playoff spot!" While I would argue that the play of the Flames has improved since the departure of Darryl Sutter, I doubt it has more than a little to do with "fun".

Gallagher dives into Tanguay's struggles last year with the Lightning, and what it's like to be a player over thirty. It's a pretty interesting piece, if a bit heavy on traditional media narrative.

Really though, the above linked article is worth a read purely for the following passage:

What got the Flames going is open to question but certainly Darryl Sutter’s departure appears to have made life easier on coach Brent Sutter, who never really lightens up, but at least looks capable of getting through a day at the moment.

There is no passage I wish I had written more than that this one.

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