Maine Hockey Journal

Injury bug bites Portland and look who’s coming to town

Before a single puck has even been dropped in Portland Pirates training camp, they’re already dealing with injuries on the blueline as Matt Generous is expected to be out for at least a month with a cut to his right ankle that resulted in a sliced tendon.

The Cheshire, Connecticut native was expected to see more of a prominent role on the Pirates this season, but while practicing in Sabres camp, he suffered a cut above his right ankle that sliced the tendon about 20% through and will need to be in a walking cast for about four weeks.

Generous, who played for St. Lawrence University, signed last season with the Buffalo Sabres and spent the end of the year in Portland. In eight games, Generous scored a single goal with 13 penalty minutes.

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Last week, the Buffalo Sabres announced they finally signed Tyler Ennis to an entry-level contract. No terms were announced, but it’s believed to be for the rookie maximum of $875,000.

Ennis, one of the Sabres first round selections in 2008, is relieve to finally get the deal done and can focus on hockey.

“I think we were both excited it and it was just a matter of time,” he said.

Ennis, who is currently 20, has the option of playing in Portland or going back to juniors, but with the contract now out of the way, it’s all but assured he’ll be playing his hockey in Portland this season.

At 5-9, he’s a player who doesn’t have a lot of size, but that’s what has intrigued both Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier and Sabres’ Head Coach Lindy Ruff.

Ruff feels that despite Ennis’ small size, he has a gift of getting the job done in front of the net.

“He does have that ability to make what I would call special plays in real tight situations,” said Ruff.

“He’s got some characteristics that are along the Derek Roy line, where he can open people up, he can make some special plays. He’s a real good player in real tight spaces. Obviously, size is a factor. But I think he’s been able to push through at every level.”

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There is still no word on Mark Mancari as he is still holding out for a trade to another NHL team. Regier has said they attempted to make a deal, but there have been no takers and now the ball is Mancari’s court on getting a deal done and reporting to training camp. It’s a shame too, because if there was a season that he would have had a legitimate chance this would have been the season. With Zagrapan gone and only Tim Kennedy and Nathan Gerbe competing for one of the remaining forward positions, it would have not been out of the realm to see Mancari make the roster this season.

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The Pirates will open training camp on Friday at Portland Ice Arena, but they won’t have much time to get settled as they will play the next night against the Lowell Devils. Look for Kyle Wanvig to get a solid look from Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen as a possible replacement to Mancari.

Wanvig, 28, spent last season in Russia’s KHL before transferring to Swedish Elite League, playing for Brynas. In 2007-08, he was with the Norfolk Admirals where he scored 56 points (23g, 33a) in 62 games.

Another player who could be finding time in Portland is former Providence Bruins defenseman Ryan Stoke, who is currently on an NHL tryout with the Sabres, but expected to be offered a tryout with the Pirates should he not make the roster.

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