Portland, ME – Because of the Sabres infinite wisdom in having two healthy defensemen sit in the pressbox every night, the Portland Pirates have resorted to dressing forward Nathan Gerbe at defense.
That’s right… The Pirates have Nathan Gerbe on defense and it looks like he may be taking regular shifts there beginning tomorrow night as the Pirates are in Manchester to take on the Monarchs.
“He’s a legitimate option to play defense,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “I’ve got seven quality defensemen here in Portland, the only problem is they’re all hurt, minus (Butler) in Buffalo.”
The Sabres made several moves on trade deadline day, but they failed miserably in addressing the Pirates need for a defenseman, by either sending a player down or acquiring a player by means of an AHL trade. The result of those inactions is the Pirates using assistant coach Eric Weinrich and Nathan Gerbe on the blueline. Weinrich is not attempting a comeback, but to take one of your top offensive players and use him on the blueline as a need is baffling.
While the Sabres sit five players, two who could be better served by playing in Portland, the Pirates are scrambling to have a roster that resembles an AHL team by Saturday.
The Pirates sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and with the Lowell Devils and Manchester Monarchs playing so well over the last several weeks, the Pirates find themselves with the possibility of preparing for a long summer of golf instead of a deep playoff run.
That’s not what we heard from Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier in August when the he was preaching a solid minor league team in Portland. That is what we heard from Rochester when Buffalo announced they were leaving that city after 29 years.
Time will tell.
Jhonas Enroth was back in Portland this morning and looked very refreshed on the ice. After spending the last couple of weeks in Buffalo, not dealing with the stress of Portland’s issues, he looks ready for the last month of the season.
With the return of Enroth, the Pirates kept Kellen Briggs as the backup, releasing Jeff Jakaitis from his PTO.