PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland Pirates open the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs as the top seed in the Atlantic Division and host the Connecticut Whale in their first round, best-of-seven series Thursday night.
"This is what we play all year for, to be in the playoffs, so we are excited to be here," exclaimed head coach Kevin Dineen after his team's morning skate.
The Pirate finished the season with seven games in nine days, so getting a chance to catch their breath before the playoff push began was huge for the players and the coaches. Dineen says the time off has allowed players to heal up from the exhausting regular season, but everyone is happy to still be playing as the playoffs start.
"You know, it makes for a long summer and nobody wants to start that off-season part of the year," he said. "It has been a good series all year long and we expect a fierce start to it tonight and Saturday."