More Amerks-Sabres Fuel, Pirates-Panthers Affiliation a Possibility

The silly season (AHL affiliation changes) continues with this latest story that the Kennebec Journal wrote discussing the realistic possibility of the Florida Panthers and Portland Pirates affiliating.  The Panthers just hired Kevin Dineen as head coach for the Florida Panthers, Dineen had spent the previous five seasons as coach of the Portland Pirates.

For Dineen to even discuss this as a possibility just adds to the all but officially confirmed Sabres purchase of the Rochester Americans.  Dineen knows what’s going on in Portland and with his recommendation of the Panthers it could help sell Panthers hockey there.

You know what us Amerks fans say?  You can have them!  Even if they become extremely successful we’ve had enough.

“I have a place that I certainly prefer where they’ll be,” said Dineen. “I’ve worked in Portland. I know the quality of life there for the players is great for them to develop as players. I know (the Panthers) haven’t had a strong fan base there, but (the fans) are passionate about hockey.”

Also from the article:

The problem is the Pirates and Sabres agreed to an extension of their affiliation agreement last spring. It now runs through the 2013-14 season.

Still, Dineen said a swap of affiliates is feasible.

“I think it’s a very realistic possibility,” he said. “Certainly on our end, speaking on behalf of the Panthers, there’s a strong interest in our coming to the Portland area. It gets down to dollars and cents, and the business logistics.”

Neither Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier nor Brian Petrovek, the Pirates’ CEO/managing owner, would comment directly on the possibility of an affiliation switch.

“It’s something that all parties are working on, and I really have to leave it at that,” said Regier. “I can’t comment beyond that.”

“If there are things going on in our league, it’s best to let it happen,” Petrovek said. “At the present time we have a relationship with the Buffalo Sabres, and I think it’s inappropriate for me to comment beyond what (Regier) has said.”

In other news, the Chicago Wolves have said that six teams expressed interest with them in affiliating and they have their options narrowed down to three teams.  The Wolves have said that an announcement in the next week is likely.

Pieces everywhere are starting to fall into place.