Maine Hockey Journal

Wednesday musings from practice; Whitmore injured

The Pirates hit the ice this morning at PIA, one night after, a 5-2 drubbing by the Manchester Monarchs in both teams only preseason tilt. Both teams will be back at it on Saturday at the Civic Center for the Pirates home opener.

Players appeared to not place a lot of stock in the game because it was just a preseason game. For several players, this was their first real game action since last season, and really the first time they skated as just that, a team.

“You just can’t read too much into that first game,” said Pirates forward Felix Schutz. “It was the first game for me in the last three months. So for me, I didn’t feel great on the ice. We have a lot of new players, guys trying to figure out chemistry, and will take a while for sure.”

Although, Portland is less than three days away from opening their season, Schutz doesn’t see the need to extend camp based on one game’s performance.

“In the end, we’re all professional hockey players and we’re old enough to know better,” he said. “I think everyone is ready for Saturday. We have 80 games, if we had another three weeks of training camp; it would almost be too much.”

Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen thinks it more about having everyone playing out of the same playbook versus, players trying to do too much on their own.

“You’re talking about a bunch of players that come from different systems and different ways of playing, and at this point, it’s trying to get everyone on the same page,” said Dineen.

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Dineen rolled four lines in practice, skating a few new line combinations. Luke Adam was skating at center this morning, alongside Whitmore and Mancari. Adam was practicing at left wing, and played there during the game last night in Nashua so it’s a new look for him.

Whitmore-Adam-Mancari
McCauley-Turnbull-Legault
Stuart-Byron-Lagace
Roloff-Schutz-Tropp

Conboy-Crawford
Brennan-Biega
Schiestel-Persson

Speaking of Whitmore, he went down about an hour into practice with what looked like a right knee injury. He needed assistance from Mancari and Byron to the bench where he was in some obvious discomfort. He was later helped off the ice, and had a noticeable limp leaving the arena.

Dineen said it may not be as serious as it looked; however, he was going for an evaluation so that could change.

That only left the Pirates with 11 forwards as Rob Ricci was not at practice. (EDIT: Ricci was released from him tryout with the Pirates.)

Matt Ellis and Mark Parrish have been assigned to Portland, but have yet to arrive. Dineen hoped they might be here no later than Friday, and both are expected in the lineup for Saturday’s game.

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Another player making his way back to Portland is goalie Jhonas Enroth after the Buffalo Sabres reassigned him this morning in order to get down to their 23-man roster limit. Dineen posed serious questions on Enroth’s return to Portland in time for Saturday’s game in Portland because of a groin injury to Sabres backup goaltender Patrick Lalime.

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(UPDATE): The Sabres announced this afternoon that Jhonas Enroth and Marc-Andre Gragnani were officially assigned to Portland. Gragnani is currently injured with a right knee sprain that he suffered at the end of rookie camp in September. He’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks, which means the earliest he will be back is near the end of October or early November.

Buffalo also announced what Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen confirmed last night that Mark Parrish was signed to a two-way contract, and was assigned to Portland after clearing waivers.

Parrish, 33, has 387 points (216g, 171a) in 720 career NHL games with Florida, NY Islanders, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Dallas and Tampa Bay.

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