PORTLAND – With the season opener five days away, the Portland Pirates’ coaching staff began looking at different line combinations during Tuesday morning’s practice.

But Coach Ray Edwards cautioned he is still at least a day away from deciding who will be on the roster when the regular season opens Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn., against the Sound Tigers.

“I’ll start dealing with what we have (today) at noon, because that is when we’ll know what we have,” Edwards said.

A total of 27 players — 16 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies — took part in Tuesday’s practice.

According to Edwards, two of those players — veteran goalie Curtis McElhinney and left wing Brett McLean — must still clear waivers before they can officially play for the Pirates.

Edwards said the Phoenix Coyotes, who replaced the Buffalo Sabres as the Pirates’ NHL parent last June, also could assign at least one more forward or a defenseman before the opener.

During the weekend, 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele was assigned to the Pirates after spending two weeks at the Coyotes’ training camp.

“I wasn’t playing confident enough up there, so hopefully I can come down here and do what I do and work as hard as I can down here,” said Miele, who scored 24 goals and had 47 assists in his final season with Miami University of Ohio.

“I just have to work hard, play competitive out there and put points on the board,” he said. “I just need to do my job and play as feisty as I can.”

Miele arrived in Maine in time to watch the Pirates’ 2-0 win against the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday afternoon in an exhibition game at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“There’s a lot of skilled, talented players out here, and I’ve got to do something to separate myself from them. That’s where my work ethic comes in.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH