September 18, 2011

Coyotes Training Camp: Hoping for fresh start this season

Colin Long is ready to make his mark in the AHL after struggling with concussion symptoms.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. - After being sidelined much of the past two seasons because of post-concussion syndrome, Colin Long appears ready to play his first full American Hockey League season.

Colin Long

PIRATES OPENERS

SEASON: Oct. 8, at Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 7 p.m.

HOME: Oct. 15, vs. Manchester Monarchs, 7 p.m.

"It's been a long ride, but I know I'm over it," said Long during a break in Phoenix Coyotes training camp Sunday at Jobing.com Arena in suburban Phoenix. The Portland Pirates are entering their first season as the Coyotes' AHL affiliate.

"I've been symptom-free for eight months now, and it's just a great feeling being clear-headed."

Long is a 5-foot-11, 190-pound center from Santa Ana, Calif., who has been limited to 34 games during his first two AHL seasons because of his health problems.

"I don't know if I'm technically a rookie in the AHL, but I haven't had a full season in the league yet, at least a healthy one," he said. "I'm just pumped to get off to a good start here and show them what I can do."

After a strong showing in the Phoenix rookie camp, Long looked good during the first two days of the main camp, scoring a goal during an intra-squad scrimmage Sunday morning.

"He's been able to show his skills because he's been able to train and come in in the proper shape," said Brad Trelving, vice president of hockey operations and assistant general manager of the Coyotes.

Long, 22, turned pro two years ago after playing four seasons of junior hockey for the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League.

In his last two seasons with the Rockets, he scored 70 goals and had 149 assists.

"Three or four years ago, he was sort of an oddity, going from roller hockey basically in Southern California and going into the Western Hockey League," Trelving said. "He not only went up there, but he was a real, real good player."

Long suffered concussions at the start of the last two AHL seasons, and it took him a while to recover from their effects.

"You just have to wait and find out what works for you," he said. "I rested. I didn't do much. In the summer, when I went home, I got active and started working out. I stopped watching TV.

"I stayed off the computer. I helped my dad work (in construction), and I helped my mom around the house, and it really helped me to shake this thing."

NOTES: Forwards Jimmy Bonneau and Igor Gongalsky have been invited to the Portland Pirates' training camp, which starts next Monday at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Bonneau, a 6-3, 220-pound left wing, played 46 games for Portland during the 2008-09 season, while Gongalsky, a 6-0, 225-pound left wing, played 54 games for the Pirates last season.

After undergoing recent shoulder surgery, Alexandre Bolduc, a 6-0, 200-pound center, will start the season with the Pirates. Last spring, Bolduc, a sixth-year pro, played three games for the Canucks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Bolduc is expected to be out for up to two months.

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

 

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