Canucks farmhand Steve Pinizzotto can’t catch a break
Notebook: Groin injury will force veteran winger to miss NHL squad’s training camp, again
VANCOUVER — Tuesday was a good day for Steve Pinizzotto, who could certainly use one.
He skated for the first time since suffering a groin injury in late November and hopes he might be ready to rejoin the Chicago Wolves in two weeks.
By then, the National Hockey League season will be underway and once again, Pinizzotto won’t be part of it. Not at the start, anyway.
“I feel like I have been banging at the door and it doesn’t seem to want to come down,” a frustrated Pinizzotto said Tuesday from Chicago. “I have been dealing with this for a while now.”
Last season, Pinizzotto appeared to have won a fourth-line job at the Canucks’ training camp, but suffered a shoulder injury in a late pre-season game. It required surgery and his season was lost.
He hoped this year would be different. His season had started well with the Wolves and Pinizzotto was confident he would get a long look at Vancouver’s training camp once the lockout ended.
Now that first NHL game is going to have to wait awhile longer for the 28-year-old graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“I just skated today by myself for the first time and I’ll spend the next week skating by myself and then hopefully join the group and go from there,” said Pinizzotto, who was in Vancouver recently to meet with team doctors. “That’s the schedule I have been given and hopefully that’s how it goes.
“That’s just the way these last couple of years have gone. It seems nothing’s easy and I have had to deal with things like this. I just have to keep working at it and doing whatever I can to get healthy and hopefully I can get up there as quickly as possible because I know I could be a good player for their team.”
Before being signed by the Canucks before the 2011-12 season, Pinizzotto spent four years with the Washington Capitals organization. Despite a couple of solid seasons with the Hershey Bears, where Pinizzotto displayed a nice combination of scoring touch and toughness, he never got into an NHL game with the Capitals.
“It’s an injury that needs its time to heal,” he said. “It can’t be rushed, that’s the worst thing about it. It’s not like I can tape it up. It’s another one that keeps me off the ice which kind of sucks. But again, it’s part of the game and one of those things. I just have to try and get healthy and bring my game up to where it was and then hopefully things will work out from there.”
Goalie Eddie Lack has been out almost as long as Pinizzotto, also with a groin injury. Lack is in Vancouver and being treated by the Canuck medical staff.
HEAT SELLOUT: The Wolves will be in Abbotsford for a two-game set with the Heat on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s unclear at this point how many of the Canucks’ prospects will play in those games.
Jordan Schroeder, Chris Tanev, Zack Kassian, Andrew Ebbett and Kevin Connauton are expected to attend Vancouver’s training camp, which will likely start on Sunday. All five are unlikely to play in Abbotsford.
The Heat have announced that Saturday night’s game is a sellout. Fewer than 1,000 tickets were available for Friday night’s game.
ON SCHEDULE: The 48-game NHL schedule won’t be released until later this week, but reports Tuesday indicated teams will play exclusively in their respective conference. Teams will play two division opponents four times and two other division opponents five times.
They will play the other 10 Western Conference teams three times.
CORRADO DEALT: Canuck prospect Frank Corrado was traded Tuesday to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers by the Sudbury Wolves.
The 19-year-old defenceman, selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the Canucks, was in the midst of his fourth season with the Wolves. He has six goals and 27 points in 41 games this season.
The Toronto native was a surprise cut after an impressive showing at last month’s World Junior selection camp.
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