April 29, 2011

Pirates Notebook: Gragnani's leaving to join Team Canada

From staff reports

PORTLAND - Don't expect to see Marc-Andre Gragnani back in a Portland Pirates uniform.

Instead, expect to see him with Team Canada.

The Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald reported Thursday that Gragnani, a defenseman, will join Team Canada for the IIHF world championships today through May 15 in Slovakia.

After Portland's 5-3 loss to Binghamton in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Atlantic Division finals Thursday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center, Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen acknowledged that Gragnani will join the Canadian national team, which opens preliminary-round play today against Belarus in Kosice, Slovakia.

"I'd say that's probably accurate," Dineen said when asked about Gragnani's status. "He's caught in a waiver situation where he's not going to be able to help us.

"If you play a certain number of games, he would have to pass through waivers to come down, and obviously, with his play in Buffalo, it certainly is a well-deserved honor to represent his country in the world championships."

Mike Gilbert, the Buffalo Sabres' director of public relations, said Tuesday he did not have any information as to whether or not Gragnani would join Team Canada.

Gragnani, 24, who is in his fourth professional season, led the Sabres in scoring in this year's playoffs with one goal and six assists in seven games against the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 63 games this season with the Pirates, Gragnani had 12 goals and 48 assists.

In nine games during the regular season with Buffalo, Gragnani had a goal and two assists.

According to the Canadian Press, Team Canada General Manager Dave Nonis is allowed to add up to six players to Canada's roster, currently at 19 players, before the end of the tournament.

The championship game is May 15 in Bratislava, Slovakia.


THE PIRATES have outshot the Senators 81-69 in the first two games of the series but have been outscored 7-5.

Although the Pirates held Ryan Potulny, the AHL's leading playoff scorer, to one assist (on Bobby Butler's second-period power-play goal), the Senators have had five players score goals in the first two games of the series, including Zack Smith, who has one goal in each game.

"We know that they're a diverse team and that they can generate their scoring from a number of different places," Dineen said. "You're going to have to make sure that every guy that steps on the ice for us is ready to go."


TRAVEL: Following Thursday night's game, the Pirates traveled by bus to Springfield, Mass., to spend the night. The team is scheduled to practice at 4 p.m. today at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.


AFTER PLAYING in Game 1 of the series, center Travis Turnbull and rookie defenseman Corey Fienhage were scratched from the Portland lineup and center Brian Roloff and former UMaine defenseman Jeff Dimmen were added.


Staff Writers Rachel Lenzi and Paul Betit contributed to this report.


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