Steve Yzerman makes a bold move, hires former rival to join coaching staff

Safe to say that the Red Wings vs Avalanche rivalry is now officially dead.


Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced earlier today that he has hired former NHLer Alex Tanguay to serve as assistant coach under head coach Jeff Blashill.

The 41 year old Tanguay has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL's Iowa Wild, affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Prior to that, of course, Tanguay had an outstanding 16 year career in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes. He put up 283 goals and 863 points in 1,088 games played.

Hockey fans of a certain vintage will mostly remember Tanguay from his time with the Avs in the late 90s and early 2000s when his team had a fierce rivalry against Yzerman and the Red Wings. Tanguay is sixth all-time on the Avs scoring all-time scoring list and scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the team in the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While his role in those Wings/Avs rivalry matches isn't to the level of guys like Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake or Adam Foote, he was a versatile forward who played up and down the lineup and always brought a high level of play no matter who he was playing with. He could put up points alongside Forsberg and Milan Hejduk or he could pack a punch on the 3rd line with guys like Adam Deadmarsh and Stephane Yelle. 

In fairness, Tanguay wasn't yet in the NHL when things really popped off between the Wings/Avs in the mid to late 90s. He wasn't on the team when the whole Claude Lemieux and Kris Draper controversy happened. He also wasn't yet on the team when the infamous brawl happened in the season following Lemieux/Draper. He was, however, in the 2002 brawl that transpired when Roy instigated a fight with Red Wings tough guy Kirk Maltby. 

In any case, with Tanguay's hiring in Detroit I think we can officially say that one of the best rivalries in NHL history is now dead. There was a time when you wouldn't dream of an Avs player signing on to be part of the Red Wings organization, but those days appear long in the rear view mirror now.