PORTLAND – The Portland Pirates received 12 players Wednesday from the parent Buffalo Sabres, but most of them will need a couple of days to trickle into town.

“Some of the players need to go get their cars,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said.

It takes about 10 hours to drive from Buffalo to Portland.

Because the Pirates don’t have enough players, an exhibition game Saturday night against the Manchester Monarchs at the Portland Ice Arena was canceled.

Instead the Pirates will play the Monarchs on Tuesday night at Conway Arena in Nashua, N.H.

The Pirates and Manchester also will open the regular season Oct. 9 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Pirates are scheduled to hold their first skate Friday morning at the Portland Ice Arena, then practice there at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Dineen expects the Sabres to make another round of cuts following a final exhibition Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo.

“(Buffalo Coach) Lindy (Ruff) wants to take a good look at a number of guys,” Dineen said. “Historically, the cuts have been a lot earlier, but this is a good sign for us.

“Guys are making a good impression.”

Among the players sent to the Pirates on Wednesday were forwards Felix Schutz, Travis Turnbull and Derek Whitmore, who spent all of last season with the team.

Whitmore and veterans Colin Stuart and Tim Conboy, both signed as a free agents during the summer, must clear waivers to join the Pirates.

All of the players who were assigned to the Pirates on Wednesday have been in training camp in Buffalo since Sept. 13.

“They have been going almost three weeks now, and now this is a transition time for us to get down and start putting the team together, and also finding the chemistry in our lines and finding the chemistry in our players,” Dineen said.

Although the Pirates are now limited to one exhibition game, Dineen, who will be entering his sixth season as coach of the team, is sure that the club will be prepared for the season opener.

“We’ll be fine,” he said. “One thing that stuck out (in Buffalo) was the conditioning of our players. I think it was excellent. We will still have time to work on a few things.”

In the past, the Pirates have invited a number of players from ECHL teams to their training camp.

Because of time constraints, Dineen said that won’t be possible this year.

“The only disadvantage is we won’t get a good look at some of our depth players,” he said.

Wednesday’s cuts left the Sabres with 35 players in their camp. They include 19 forwards, 12 defensemen and four goaltenders.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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