“My goal is to be as dominate as I can,” said Miele. I want to lead this team and if the lockout ends and I’m called up that’s awesome, if not, this is my place and I’m going to compete as hard as I can here.”
Miele is entering his second season in the American Hockey League with the Portland Pirates, the Phoenix Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, after signing as an undrafted player.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward, met all expectation of the Coyotes in his rookie season, finishing as the Pirates’ second leading scorer with 54 points (16g, 38a) in 69 games.
“His season went right about where I thought it would,” said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett, who is spending the week observing training camp in Portland. “He came into (NHL) camp (last season) and did very well, but your first go at pro hockey can be tough. His role in the game is a hard role to play. He’s one of those types of players that for him to play at the level he wants to play, he needs to be creating offense and that is a very hard thing to do in today’s game.”
“He learned a lot of things last year. There are still some details where he recognized that he has to get better, but his desire to learn and get things done is very high.”
Miele’s coach in Portland, Ray Edwards, noted that he’s seen an immediate improvement in a couple of areas where he needed to get better.
“There were handful items we wanted Andy to work on,” said Edwards. “The release of his shot and being in a position to get that shot off quicker. I’ve noticed just in the last couple of days that he’s been very cognizant of those things.”
Miele spent the summer with a personal trainer and feels that he’s coming into camp in perhaps the best shape ever. That’s not lost Coyotes’ management.
“It’s been my second summer training with Mike Hackett,” said Miele. “We’ve got a really relationship so I’m coming (into camp) in really good shape. I feel really good on the ice.”
“Andy is really determined kid to begin with,” said Edwards, “and he had a really good summer. You’ll never question his work ethic, his heart or his will. He’s doing everything that he needs to do to prepare himself.”
“Coming into the season there is little less mystery,” Edwards added. “He knows what he needs to work at to continue to get better. Now, it’s about becoming a complete player.”
The biggest adjustment for Miele last season was going from a 40-game schedule with Miami (OH) University to a 76-game schedule with the Pirates.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “You have to really take care of your body. It’s a lot of games and you have got to figure out how to compete at the highest level possible in each game. Hopefully, I can be better at that this season.”
“This is a great opportunity for him here in Portland because this is a chance for him to be a leader, not only an offensive leader, but a leader in the locker room,” said Tippett. “He’s got to be an offensive player to be successful, but that being said, in order to play in the NHL you need to be an all-around player. His creativity, his puck sense and the ability to make others around him better is very high.”
“He hasn’t disappointed anybody in the Coyotes organization.”
NOTES: Team Black won Monday’s scrimmage, 5-2, on a pair of goals by rookie Brendan Shinnimin. Chris Brown led Team White with two goals… The Pirates have released forward Tony Lucia to their ECHL affiliate, the Gwinnett Gladiators, on Monday. There are 30 players (four goalies, nine defensemen and 17 forwards) left in camp.