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.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”

Yes! Jagr’s bringing back the mullet

Ice Hockey - Day 6 - Czech Republic v Slovakia

The greatest mullet in sports history is making a comeback.

According to the Miami Herald’s George Richards, Jaromir Jagr says he’s bringing back the party in the back.

“I have to,” Jagr, 43, said.

Jagr’s teammate with the Florida Panthers, goalie Roberto Luongo, appears to have been the lead lobbyist in all this.

Anyway, this is fantastic.