Maine Hockey Journal

Waugh embracing second opportunity

Portland, ME – It’s not every day somebody gets a second chance to make a statement.

For new Pirates’ defenseman Geoff Waugh, it’s just that as he will gladly take this second opportunity and try to make the most of it.

Waugh, 25, had signed with the Ottawa Senators this past summer with the hope of impressing the brass and maybe making that next step, which every hockey player’s dream, to play in the NHL.

Instead, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native has been plagued by injuries this season that had reduced his role to spot duty with the Senators’ farm club in Binghamton. He missed over a month at the start of the season after suffering a broken foot.

When he returned to the Senators lineup, he played 27 games, scoring two assists and was a plus-3.

“It’s been a really frustrating year,” Waugh said. “It’s been the hard year of my life, mentally and physically, but I feel that I have to get back and finish the year off strong.”

When it looked like his injury woes were behind him, he went down with a strained MCL in a game against the Norfolk Admirals. To have never suffered an injury and then be force to with deal with two major injuries was frustrating to the 6-4, 215-pound defenseman. It was something he had to work through and internalize.

“I’ve gone through my entire career, college, and first couple years pro without a serious injury,” said Waugh. “It’s part of the game. I like to play rough and that sort of happens. I need to take this in stride and keep positive.”

The Pirates haven’t been immune for the injury bug either as they were the victim of losing several defensemen for an extended period of time. It left Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen in a position he’d rather not be in – giving up a player he liked very much in Aaron Slattengren.

“(Waugh) gives up a big presence on the blueline because he’s a big guy. It’s a deal we had little choice in making because we were so thin on the backend,” said Dineen. “I brought in Slattengren and I sort of felt like he was my guy.”

“He’ll sorely be missed.”

It was a deal that saw a player, like Slattengren, who very much liked in the locker room for and unknown player in Waugh, who was injured.

Waugh accepted that challenge and for him the timing could have been better as he’s recovered from the strained MCL and looking forward to getting into the lineup with his new mates when the Pirates take on the Manchester Monarchs tomorrow night.

The Pirates, one point behind the Monarchs, are looking to make up ground in the Atlantic Division and solidify they place in the Calder Cup playoff. A win could have the Pirates in third place, but a loss would have them on the outside, looking in as Worcester would move to fourth place.

I’ve got to get used to a few new teammates and a new system, but that’s the name of the game,” said Waugh. “I’m really looking forward to play (for Portland). I just want to come in and help the team out the best I can and not doing anything too crazy. Just need to keep it simple, play a solid game and do what I’m asked of the coaches.”

“I’m ready to jump because we’re in a big playoff battle so every game is important.”

Getting Waugh in the lineup will help them do that. For the first time in a while, the Pirates will dress more four or more AHL regulars back on the blueline and it couldn’t come at a better time with the Pirates needing all hands on deck with the Calder Cup around the corner.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply