Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
After playing three games in four days, Wednesday was supposed to be a day off for the Portland Pirates.
FRIDAY: Pirates at Providence Bruins, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY: Connecticut Whale at Pirates, 7:05 p.m.
SUNDAY: Pirates at Manchester Monarchs, 3 p.m.
It wasn't for seven of them, who spent the day flying to play in a scrimmage in Glendale, Ariz.
The NHL parent Phoenix Coyotes recalled forwards Chris Brown, Chris Conner, Rob Klinkhammer, Brendan Shinnimin and Jordan Szwarz as well as defensemen Brandon Gormley and Chris Summers.
There are 12 players with the Coyotes who started the season with the Pirates.
"We're trying to prepare everyone for the start of the (NHL) season, and we need to evaluate all the players we may need here," said Phoenix assistant general manager Brad Treliving.
Last Friday, centers Alexandre Bolduc and Andy Miele, and defensemen Michael Stone and David Rundblad flew to Phoenix to attend the Coyotes' training camp, which began Monday following the lockout that ended with the approval of a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement by the NHL's team owners and players.
Earlier last week, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spent the last 1½ seasons with the Coyotes, left the Pirates to join informal workouts with a group of Phoenix players in Scottsdale, Ariz.
As of Wednesday night, 33 players were at the Phoenix training camp.
By Friday, NHL teams must reduce their rosters to 23 players, so a number of players are expected to return to the Pirates, who play Friday night in Providence.
"I don't want to speculate on who might return or when they will return," Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said.
The Coyotes will start their condensed 48-game regular season Saturday night against the Dallas Stars at home without veteran left wing Raffi Torres. He won't be eligible to play until Feb. 2 when he finishes serving a 21-game suspension he received for a hit to the head of Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks in last spring's Stanley Cup playoffs.
Treliving said an injury also may keep right wing Boyd Gordon, who spent two seasons with the Pirates when they were affiliated with the Washington Capitals, out of the Phoenix lineup for the first week of the season.
"We'll have our scrimmage, and then we'll see where we're at," Treliving said. "In the scrimmage, we like to have three (forward) lines and five defensemen on each team. We now have enough players to do that."
Edwards expected to have no more than eight forwards and five defensemen available for Thursday morning's practice at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
"We'll work on some individual stuff," he said. "We may do a little systems work, but most of the practice will focus on the development of individual skills."
After practice, the Pirates will travel to Rhode Island to prepare for Friday night's game against the Providence Bruins.
The Pirates, who have won 13 of 16, lead the Atlantic Division with a 23-13-1-1 record.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: