Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates prepare for weekend battle

Portland, ME – The Pirates held a late afternoon scrimmage as part of their two-a-day practice schedule in preparation for the weekend’s exhibition schedule.

It was mostly a chance for Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen to get read on several players and evaluate who will play in the preseason games this weekend.

“We learned that the ice is still a challenge for us in day two,” said Dineen. “We’re starting to put together a roster for the weekend, trying to see who is going to get exhibition games and who may not.”

Because training camp opened yesterday, the coaching staff is on a compressed schedule with having only two practices before they embark on weekend games against the Manchester Monarchs. Dineen and coaching staff have to work at a feverish pace, trying to sort through 32 players in order to assemble this year’s verison of the Portland Pirates.

“Two-a-day’s are tough for everybody, but it was a good way for these guys to have a little more like a game day atmosphere and for us to evaluate on a different field,” said Dineen. “Things are starting to come together, we’re going to have a lot of bodies on the ice tomorrow so we’ve got to accomplish a lot of things in a short period of time.”

With Portland’s roster likely set and their plans to only carry 23 or 24 players maximum, the coaching staff used the scrimmage today as a tool for not necessarily who earns a spot on the team, but give a few players currently on the bubble a chance to show they belong here through the weekend.

“Every practice is important for these guys, tomorrow will be a big day for guys to see where we are,” said Dineen. “There are some decisions to be made tomorrow and kind of identifies which players will slide into getting some exhibition play. I think that’s the only fair way to do it is try and give a guy a look at when they are in a competitive situation not against their own teammates. Because they’re ceratin standards, we set out that may affect the way they are playing against their own team.”

Notes: Dineen expects to make his first roster cuts on Monday after the exhibition games vs. Manchester. Pirates defenseman Aaron Rome, Jason King and Tyler Bouck were still missing from camp as a result of travel issues and are still in transit to Portland. They should arrive in time for the preseason game on Saturday. One player that won’t be arriving anytime soon is Dan LaCouture. He failed to report to the minors and opted to stay home in Massachusetts awaiting other opportunities via trade or Europe.

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