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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    Devan Dubnyk pushes shutout streak to two games

    ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild defends the net against Winnipeg Jets during the game on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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    Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.

    For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.

    It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.

    Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.

    He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:

    More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.

    Video: Another way Patrik Laine evokes Alex Ovechkin

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    There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.

    Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.

    Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.

    This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.

    Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.

    Video: Want another booming hip check? Sean Couturier obliges

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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    Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.

    While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.

    Rate this as you will:

    Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not:

    Uh oh, Nikita Kucherov might be hurt

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    As much as this Tampa Bay Lightning – Montreal Canadiens means right now, losing Nikita Kucherov would hang a dark cloud over any result for the Bolts.

    There hasn’t been an update yet regarding whether Kucherov is actually injured – or if this is a minor vs. significant issue – but there are concerns after he fell into the boards during tonight’s game.

    You can see the fall in video form above the headline and also in this GIF from Stephanie Hail: