Comets Tales: Being One - Bobby Sanguinetti
by Don LaibleDec 1, 2014
As a defenseman, much of Bobby Sanguinetti’s game has him skating in reverse. In keeping his dream alive of playing full-time in the National Hockey League, the Jersey boy’s road going forward starts in Utica.
Through his first 18 games as a Comet, Sanguinetti has collected eight points (2-6-8). His stellar play, alongside his regular partner on Utica’s D-corps Peter Andersson, resulted in a call-up to the Vancouver Canucks on November 13. Sanguinetti’s services were required for a November 14 home contest for the Canucks with the Phoenix Coyotes. At least that was the thought for the veteran, who has played for seven teams in his eight full professional campaigns. There would be no game time on this quick visit to the Pacific Northwest. As official hockey lingo termed Sanguinetti’s rapid return to Utica on November 15 – “returned on loan”.
As a One, this isn’t how a career is projected. Selected by the New York Rangers at the 2006 entry draft, ironically, for Sanguinetti, his road to the National Hockey League (and Utica) began in Vancouver. It was in the General Motors Palace, since renamed Rogers Arena, on June 24, 2006, that Sanguinetti’s hockey dreams took to a new level of hope.
After all, the top class of players assembled in Vancouver trying on their new NHL team jerseys, for many, hockey life today is grand. Taken ahead and behind of the Rangers calling Sanguinetti’s name (21st overall), were current NHL superstars Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov, Phil Kessel, Jonathan Toews, and throw in a Staal (Jordan).
There’s no less desire nor decrease in work ethic for the Lumberton, NJ hockey prodigy. There is clearly no quit to join his fellow draft mates in the NHL. The clock, however, is ticking. At 26, with the exception of Dustin Jeffrey being being born two days before him, Sanguinetti is the oldest player on the Comets’ roster.
His execution on ice, however, has Sanguinetti on par with all. On November 19 at The AUD in a contest with North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs, Sanguinetti’s game was fluid and seemingly effortless. In period two, as the Comets took a 2-1 lead on Nicklas Jensen’s (also a One) first of two goals on the evening, Sanguinetti was invoved in the thick of things. Along with Alex Friesen, Sanguinetti developed the play and earned an assist for his effort.
No doubt, after a quick “how do you do” in Vancouver, officially knowing he’s on the Canucks’ radar, Sanguinetti has to be pumped for what the future lies. Could this be the team, the time, that all the personal and professional sacrifices meet, and Vancouver is his NHL destination? Getting word from coach Travis Green after the home clash on November 12 with the Chicago Wolves to pack his bags for a trip across countries had to inflate an air of inspiration for Sanguinetti.
The resume is clear. If ever a hockey player and the phrase “been there, done that” were to be adjoined, hands down, Sanguinetti is the candidate. More accurately, what hasn’t he done to prove he’s a legitimate One? Sanguinetti has shuffled through the Rangers, and Hurricanes organizations in search of NHL stability. Plus, last season, after signing a two-year deal in Russia’s KHL with Moscow Oblast Atlant, that journey was cut short to 15 games. Seven points were produced, then it would be back Stateside.
During Sanguinett’s beginnings in the American Hockey League, he was an all-star, twice. Representing the Hartford WolfPack (Rangers’ AHLaffiliate), in 2009, Sanguinetti captured the hardest shot event during the skills competition. The following season, the fastest skater event was won by Sanguinetti. Finally, on December 27, 2010, Sanguinetti’s first taste of the NHL was realized as a Ranger, during a game against Tampa Bay in Florida.
17 minutes are in the books of ice time during his debut, and after five games working for the Broadway Blueshirts, it was off to Carolina to play for the Hurricanes’ organization. During all the ups and downs Sanguinetti refused to let it beat him emotionally or physically, it was during the shortened lockout season of 2012-13 that gave the almost, all-clear sign, that Sanguinetti had finally established himself as a regular – in the minds of an NHL organization.
37 times he wore a Hurricanes uniform, and scored his first-ever NHL goal against the Islanders on February 24 ,2013. However, as spring approached, yet another bump in his unforgiving struggle as a One popped up. Unable to come to terms with Carolina, Sanguinetti reluctantly packed up and brushed up on his Russian vocabulary.
And so, this brings the Sanguinetti train for a stop on Oriskany Street,West in Utica. On July 1,2014, the first day of free-agency signings, Vancouver came calling. All signs are indicating that Sanguinetti made the right choice to say yes to the offer. The team stats don’t lie. Second overall in the AHL in points, first place in the Western Conference’s North Division. The hockey stars just may be aligning together for this defenseman.
Four other One’s have been teammates of Bobby’s during this season. The headline grabbers clearly have been Horvat, Jensen, Shinkaruk, and not far behind remains Gaunce. For Sanguinetti trailing, from a media standpoint, in all likelihood makes no never mind. As a defenseman, Sanguinetti is used to making his way from the back.
Be it a numbers game, right place at the right time syndrome, or chalk Sanguinetti up as an honest to goodness hockey enigma, whatever makes you feel comfortable. What counts is the journey remains game on, and Sanguinetti is willing to go into overtime, if necessary, to make the biggest score of his career – being a One, as a full-time NHL resident.