For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
When he met with Komets General Manager David Franke on Friday, forward Brandon Marino had some bad news. He had signed to play in Hungary next season with Sapa Fehervar AV19.
``It was important that they heard it from me first,'' Marino said from Minnesota where he is visiting his girlfriend's family. ``I didn't want them to feel like I didn't want to be here, but you can't pass up some opportunities.''
Marino, 27, was the team's Most Valuable Player the last two seasons, and a first-team all-ECHL pick this season after leading the league with 88 points. After turning down several offers to go to Europe before the season, Marinio said he started talking with Sapa Fehervar AV19 early this season through an agent in Sweden. He signed before the ECHL playoffs started.
The biggest factors, Marino said, were money and the opportunity to see different parts of the world.
``In the ECHL, or even in the AHL, they just don't have the ability to pay the player what you can make in Europe,'' he said. ``I came back this year because having a chance to play in the AHL was an obvious goal of my. To not get that opportunity, I know at this point in my career it's not going to fall into place for me. It's time for me to look at where can I make a good living doing this.''
Marino declined to discuss the terms of his contract.
``The other thing is the lifestyle of getting to experience something new, to see different parts of the world. You don't get to do that here, and I've been in the Midwest the last nine yeas of my career. Not too many people get that kind of opportunity for travel and this kind of experience when you are young. It's usually after you've retired.''
He struggled in the recent playoffs with five points in 11 games and was minus-10 in the plus-minus rating.
``I've thought about that and I knew that would be a question, especially with signing before the playoffs,'' Marino said. ``It is what it is. There are people who are going to think I was checked out, but I don't think that was an issue. I didn't feel that I played badly in the playoffs. There were two games that I felt I didn't play well at all.
``No matter what is going on off the ice, once I'm on the ice I'm going to give 100 percent to help my team win. Things just weren't bouncing right. This is not the way I wanted things to end, but I can't change it. I hope people don't think I didn't care.''