The Pirates are again shuffling the roster deck.
Kyle Chipchura was recalled this morning by the Coyotes and is expected to dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators.Chipchura was on four-game point streak at the time of his recall, scoring four goals, one assist for five points with a plus-2 rating. In eight games with the Pirates, he has six points (4g, 2a) including three power play goals.
With Chipchura gone, it’s left the Pirates to once again find new line combinations. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that Portland skating with 15 forwards so it’s, while Pirates coach Ray Edwards says that it’s been chore to find some consistent line combinations, he’s not using that as an excuse for the team’s slow 3-5-0-1 start.
“It would be nice to have some line combinations and have two or three games under our belt with some chemistry,” he said. But that’s totally an excuse. The fact is every team goes through it, but for us with as many new young players. We’d like to get some games together where we can run with the same group.”
“We’ve got our four lines and that fifth line on the outside looking in, but the reality of it is (Phoenix) plays tonight and if someone was to get injured those guys have to be ready to play. That’s the reality of the game is every time they play something could happen.”That fifth line that Edwards is referring to is Spencer Bennett, Igor Gongalsky and Evan Bloodoff.
Brett Hextall, who has been out of the lineup since Oct. 22 with an upper-body injury, was skating on a regular line with Brett MacLean and Marc-Antoine Pouliot, however, Edwards cautioned that while he’s close to a return. He’s still day-to-day.
“We’re hoping he’s ready to go on Sunday. He’s still sort of day-to-day, but is consistently getting better every day. It will be nice to get him back into the mix.”
The rest of the lines in practice were:
Edwards said he wasn’t sure on how long Chipchura would remain with the Coyotes as he replaces forward Martin Hanzal, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the final minutes of Wednesday night’s game in Colorado. Just getting in touch with the forward was tricky as Edwards said he wasn’t notified until around 1 am local time that Chipchura would be leaving for Phoenix on a 7 am flight.