Taylor Pyatt finds place with Phoenix Coyotes after tragedy

taylorpyatt.jpgThe Phoenix Coyotes just announced that they re-signed rugged forward Taylor Pyatt to a two-year contract. The exact terms of the deal are not yet clear.

Pyatt, 28, recorded 12-11-23 with 39 penalty minutes (PIM) and a career-high +13 rating in 74 games with the Coyotes last season, his first with the team. He also collected 1-1-2 while playing in all seven of the Coyotes’ postseason games last year.

The hard-hitting winger dealt with a rocky year-plus, moving to Phoenix after years as a member of the Vancouver Canucks and – most tragically – struggling with the death of his fiance and high school sweetheart.

On April 2, 2009, Pyatt, then a forward with the Vancouver Canucks, received a horrific middle-of-the-night call from the brother of his fiancee, Carly Bragnalo. There was a car accident, he was told, in Jamaica where she was vacationing with family. She didn’t survive the injuries.

How do you move on? She had been in his life for 11 years, a high school sweetheart who had shared the crazy ride of his hockey career.

He left the game for three weeks, unable to justify putting hockey ahead of his mourning. He rejoined the Canucks midway through the playoffs but in the summer, when he had become an unrestricted free agent and no longer had the distraction of daily hockey, his clarity told him he needed a new environment.

“I was looking for a change of scenery and to turn the page as far as my career goes,” he said Monday.

It’s great to hear that Pyatt is sticking with Phoenix. One can only imagine that the 28-year-old forward could use some stability after a chaotic year-plus.

For at least one Coyote, the team’s ownership troubles seemed pretty timid. Best of luck to Pyatt as he moves on with his life with a little bit of security.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?