Veteran Tyler Mosienko, the center the Alaska Aces signed on Saturday, sports a style that furnishes both skill and sandpaper -- he can deliver points and grate on opponents.
Lately, though, Mosienko has also acquired serious baggage.
The 29-year-old former Las Vegas Wranglers captain was one of three players released last month by the Esbjerg Energy in Denmark's top league after he admitted to gambling on a game involving his team.
According to published reports, Mosienko, Kirill Starkov and Dennis Jensen bet their opponent, Rungsted, would score a first-period goal against Esbjerg in a January game. Rungsted scored three first-period goals in a 7-4 win.
A teammate told Esbjerg management about the bet, according to reports. In those reports, Mosienko, who said the amount wagered was not substantial, acknowledged he crossed an ethical line.
"I thought that if I won, and it was discovered, that I might be ordered to pay the money back,'' nfib.com quoted Mosienko as saying. "I did not even know the odds, and I won probably an amount equal to what it costs to go out to dinner and the movies.''
He also told the website, "My life is in ruins.''
Aces managing member Terry Parks said Mosienko, who debuted Saturday night for the Aces with two assists and a plus-3 rating in a 6-2 win at Ontario (Calif.) told Aces coach Rob Murray why he lost his gig in Denmark.
"We gave him a second chance,'' Parks said. "Rob had the ultimate decision. I'll have a talk with (Mosienko) when he gets here and make sure (betting) can't happen here and won't happen here, or he won't play again in North America.''
Parks said he talked to Ryan Mougenel, Mosienko's former head coach in Las Vegas and currently an assistant coach with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. He said Mougenel vouched for Mosienko's character.
"He had nothing but good things to say, all positives, and it didn't feel like he was trying to sell me,'' Parks said. "He said the kid is passionate about the game, cares about his teammates and is a good teammate.''
In 300 ECHL games, Mosienko has produced 86-167--253 totals and a plus-61 rating. He also has earned 408 penalty minutes.
Just 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, Mosienko in his previous ECHL stints proved a fearless player with some rat -- in hockey, that's a compliment -- in his game. Think of him as another version of Aces winger Brendan Connolly.
At the time he was released during his second season with Esbjerg, Mosienko owned 16-27--43 totals in 31 games, which tied him for third in the league in scoring.
Mosienko also owns 53 games of AHL experience. He fills the Aces' lone remaining vacancy for a veteran. Each ECHL team is permitted four "veteran'' skaters -- non-goalies who began the season with 260 or more regular-season pro games. Alaska's other veterans are defenseman Sean Curry, winger Peter Sivak and center Jordan Morrison.
The signing of Mosienko is a sign the Aces, who went into Saturday's game with the best winning percentage in the 21-team league, are gearing up their quest for their third Kelly Cup championship in franchise history. With Mosienko under ECHL contract, the Aces protect themselves in the event they lose more players to the Abbotsford Heat, their AHL affiliate, in the postseason. The Heat entered Saturday atop the Western Conference and look as if they are capable of a long playoff run.
Mosienko's signing also explained the move the Aces made Friday, when they released winger Shawn Skelly.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog
By DOYLE WOODY