Comets Tales: Dustin Jeffrey
by Don LaibleOct 16, 2014
When the fall chill arrives, Dustin Jeffrey knows what time it is.
After weeks of practice and a trio of exhibition games, Jeffrey’s skating and stick handling skills starts getting honed. When Jeffrey joined the Comets, it represented a fresh start for the former draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins. After a hot start to the season while in Toronto, the year ahead looks promising for the Comets forward.
Jeffrey’s path to the Comets roster started when he signed a one year deal with the Vancouver Canucks last July 2. Which was just two weeks after celebrating winning the Calder Cup with his Texas Stars teammates. Jeffrey hopes to keep the positive momentum in motion with Utica. It’s his experience on the NHL and AHL levels that should grab headlines for Coach Travis Green’s club.
Until last season, where Jeffrey offered handshakes of hello and waves of good-bye to three different sets of teammates (Pittsburgh, Dallas, Texas), the 26-year old center was a one organization man. For parts of six seasons, Jeffrey knew his gear and mail would be shipped to either Pittsburgh or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL affiliate).
“I wasn’t used to moving around,” said Jeffrey while mingling with season ticket holders at the Utica Zoo. “Once Dallas was out of the playoffs, I jumped down to Austin (Texas Stars) to help make a difference. Chris Mueller and Patrik Nemeth went with me as well.”
Jeffrey has gotten his 2013-14 campaign off on the right foot. Starting with a two-goal performance in his first chance to play in front of Mohawk Valley fans at Rome’s John F. Kennedy Arena. Then again this weekend, when the games started to count, he scored a goal in each of the Comets two games in Toronto. It’s scoring opportunities like what took place in Rome and Toronto that has the Comets coaching staff and Comets fans excited.
One would think finding chemistry with linemates may take a bit of time to find. However, after the first weekend of games, it appears he’s clicked just fine with Darren Archibald and Alex Grenier. It’s performances such as the 45 points racked up during the 2010-11 season with Wikes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (plus 12 points in Pittsburgh that same season) that offers high scoring hopes for Jeffrey, and fans at The AUD.
With Utica hosting the AHL All-Star Weekend in January, plus playing the Syracuse Crunch next month in the Carrier Dome (attracting what is expected to be the indoor attendance record for professional hockey),playing hockey in Utica for Jeffrey will come with some big stage perks. Coming from Sarnia, Ontario, the largest city on Lake Huron, and bordering on Michigan, if not selected for the mid-season classic, Jeffrey has a plan.
“It’s a five or six hour drive home from Utica,” Jeffrey tells. “I’ll go there and relax a bit.”
With his adjustment period to the Comets rapidly coming to a close, there is only one more thing Dustin Jeffrey needs to hear in Utica – the “Let’s Go Comets” chant at The AUD he’s already heard so much about.