Saturday, December 7, 2013
Portland Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen will return to Maine next week after spending the past two weeks with the parent Buffalo Sabres at their training camp.
The Pirates are scheduled to hold their first practice at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Portland Ice Arena.
Dineen, who plans to return to Maine on Tuesday night, expects the players to start trickling in Wednesday.
A team meeting is scheduled for Thursday night.
''I'll get back there and I'll have one day to kind of prepare, and we'll go from there,'' he said.
The Pirates' camp will last eight days. Before opening the season Oct. 3 in Springfield, the Pirates will play three exhibitions.
The Pirates then will meet Providence in their Oct. 10 home opener at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Dineen estimates 15 to 18 players who currently are at Buffalo's training camp eventually will be assigned to Portland.
''(The Sabres have) five exhibition games left and I'm sure the players are going to get a good look,'' he said.
The Sabres sent six players back to their junior teams Thursday.
Dineen expects a second round of cuts will take place after this weekend.
A third round of cuts could come after the Pirates start their training camp.
Dineen said a number of players not currently among the 50 players at Buffalo's training camp will be invited to the Portland camp.
One of the most notable players is Kyle Wanvig, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right wing who led the Norfolk Admirals in scoring during the 2007-08 season.
The 28-year-old Wanvig split last season with teams in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia and in the Elitserien, the top professional league in Sweden.
A number of former Pirates also may be invited to try out for the team.
Earlier this month, Dineen said that some of his former players, such as Trevor Gillies, Mike Hoffman and Simon Ferguson, may be given a chance for a second go-round with the Pirates.
''There's interest in all those players, but at this time I'm not prepared, or I'm not able to make any steps in that direction,'' said Dineen, who will be entering his fifth season as coach of the Pirates.
Reportedly, Gillies, who spent two seasons with the Pirates before moving to the Carolina Hurricanes for the past three seasons, is trying out for the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
During the off-season, Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said his organization would take steps to add some toughness to the Portland lineup.
''I think we're going to be fine on team toughness,'' Dineen said.
''I think we will have pretty good depth. I don't know which players yet, but I'm comfortable moving into the season that we can compete with any team in the league in any manner they want to play.''
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: