Former Penguins forward Eric Tangradi arrived in Winnipeg yesterday and made his first appearance with the Jets in practice today. After practice, over twenty members of the media got a chance to talk to the newest member of the Jets franchise. Some of those members were from Pittsburgh and Tangradi had some interesting things to say about his tenure with the Penguins.
Tangradi on what he wants to accomplish in his debut tonight:
“I have a mindset of no friends tonight. I’m just trying to play my game and be physical. It’s not the number one thing to score. I’m just looking forward to getting an opportunity and playing my game.”
Tangradi on facing his former team so soon and how he was treated in Pittsburgh:
“It’s kind of like seeing your ex-girlfriend at the bar the next night. Sometimes, I felt like I had a short leash out there. I felt like I was playing just not to make a mistake.”
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was asked if he agreed with Tangradi’s comments about how he was handled in Pittsburgh and he responded, “I don’t feel that way, no.” Bylsma cannot be blamed for saying that though. Tangradi was labeled as one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects for many seasons, but could never perform well in the NHL or dominate at the AHL level. In 45 NHL games, Tangradi notched 1 goal and 4 assists. In 178 AHL games, Tangradi recorded 60 goals and 61 assists. His best season in terms of goals was 2010-11 when he scored 18 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In January, Bylsma gave Tangradi a huge chance to produce with All-Star forwards Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, but he did not record a single point.