01/04/2014 12:38 PM
The Portland Pirates have seen some recent additions to their lineup. Jordan Szwarz was reassigned to Portland on Dec. 29 and the Pirates signed forwards Corey Trovino and Jesse Mychan Jan. 3.
But another notable addition has been the insertion of James Melindy into the defensive corps. The 20-year-old Melindy has only played in a handful of games this season as he has been recovering from a knee injury.
“It’s been going good,” Melindy said about his rehabilitation. “We’ve been being pretty precautious on getting back in the lineup and making sure it’s as close to 100 percent as it can be.”
Melindy played in the first two games of the season before partially tearing his MCL. Recovering from the injury has kept Melindy out of practice, which means he has a lot of catching up to do, according to Coach Edwards.
“He’s missed a lot of practice time, so we’re just getting him up to speed now,” Edwards said. “With the type of injury he had, he hasn’t seen a lot of practice time so he’s got a lot of work to do to get back and get himself ready to play.”
And though he hasn’t been able to see him in practice, Edwards has been extremely pleased with Melindy’s work ethic to overcome the injury.
“That part of it has been excellent, he’s worked hard,” Edwards said. “We’ve tried to bring him back a couple of times, but he’s taken a step back, so we’ve got to be real sure that he’s ready to come back.”
Melindy first tried to make a comeback in late November when the Pirates traveled to Hartford, but he ended up tweaking the injury in just his second shift of the night.
“Like the trainer [Mike Booi] said, that could happen the first game or five weeks down the road,” Melindy said. “It’s just one of those unfortunate things. If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all this season.”
But his luck may be changing, as Melindy has been in the lineup for the Pirates last four games, even notching his first professional goal Dec. 21 against Providence. While Melindy sees his strengths as sound defense and a good first pass, offense, like he provided against Providence, is one thing the Portland coaching staff would like to see from him as well.
“There’s no question we’d like to see some skill and get offense from him,” said assistant coach John Slaney. “In juniors he played both sides of it so there’s no question he should be able to do it down here also.”
Melindy would not mind chipping in offensively, either, but for now, his focus remains on staying healthy enough to play every day.
“I want to get in to as many games as I can and try to stay healthy,” Melindy said. “It’s been frustrating thus far being out for such a long time. For me, it’s just getting into games and hopefully doing the little things right to help the team win.”
(by Kirk Dyson)