Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates use long practice session to tie up loose ends

Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates hit the ice at the Cumberland County Civic Center for an unusually long practice.

Practice last nearly three hours before the team came off the ice and Pirates coach Kevin Dineen declaring, “The boy’s earned their paycheck today.”

It wasn’t a practice extended because they did something wrong.

The team is 12-3-1 on the season tied with San Antonio for the AHL lead in points with 25.

Dineen gave the team two full days away from the ice, and was looking to take advantage of the schedule-maker’s handy work by working on face-offs, defensive zone coverage and neutral zone coverage when they possess the puck and when they don’t.

“It’s the schedule,” he said. “It depends on how you’re playing. When it’s going bad, you say it’s a good thing, when you’re (playing) going good, you say oh it would be nice to give our guys a break to work on things. For us we’re going to take advantage of it.”

“We’re going to work on some very specific things, and just really get our point across which a lot of time you don’t get to do over the course of busy season. It was one of the longer practices I’ve had as a coach, and it was good one for us.”

Line combination, for the most part, stayed the same as they have all season when the Pirates have 12 healthy forwards.

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

Defensive pairs rotated with Dennis Persson getting back into game shape, taking part in full practices.

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, rookie defenseman Alex Biega, used today’s practice as a new reminder on why he’s thankful to be playing the game of hockey. After playing college hockey for Harvard, where schedules are only 40 games long plus playoffs, getting acclimated to the pro game as been challenge, but one that Biega is willing to live with.

“(Today’s practice) was a tough one,” he said. “We had to make up for lost time, but it was all good.” “You have to remind yourself, it might be tough (on the ice), but we’re playing hockey for living and things could be a whole lot worse.”

NOTES: No one is expected to be recalled as a result of an injury sustained by Sabres forward Pat Kaleta. Forward Nathan Gerbe is now healthy and ready to return and will take Kaleta’s place in the lineup after dealing with a fractured jaw. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Kaleta is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

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