Before there was Anton Khudobin or Stefan Chaput, there was defender Colby Cohen coming to the P-Bruins in the middle of an altogether iffy 2010-11 campaign. As it happens, though, his belated Providence debut (after being traded from Colorado for Boston’s Matt Hunwick and sitting out over a month with an injury) coincided with the team’s steady improvement.
Cohen appeared in each of the P-Bruins final 46 games last year. There were 13-18-3 without his services and 25-18-3 with them. Perhaps that’s not a coincidence on the whole.
2010-11 Highlights (With Lake Erie and Providence)
· Earned a brief promotion from the Lake Erie Monsters to the parent Colorado Avalanche, playing in three NHL games during the second week of November.
· Goal, assist and a plus-1 rating in the P-Bruins 5-3 loss to Binghamton at The Dunk on Jan. 9.
· Collaborated with Andrew Bodnarchuk to set up Brian McGrattan’s game-winner in a 2-1 home triumph over Springfield Feb. 4.
· Assisted on two goals in a close, 4-3 home loss to Hershey Feb. 11.
· Pitched in a helper in back-to-back games, helping to beat Charlotte and Bridgeport at The Dunk on March 4 and March 6, respectively.
· Took four minor penalties in a span of two games with Lake Erie (Nov. 17, Nov. 19).
· Posted a minus-2 rating in four games, one with Lake Erie and three with Providence.
· Took eight minor penalties within his first four games as a P-Bruin.
· Failed to score a single goal in each of his last 43 games-played.
Among all of this year’s presumptive Providence blueline mainstays, Cohen’s size is rivaled only by that of the pugnacious Nathan McIver. For both of them, this will be a year to try to white out the memories of recent injuries and try to inflict more bruises on attacking adversaries.
In addition, Cohen could stand to improve his accuracy on the opposing cage. In a cumulative 60 AHL twirls last season, he launched 98 shots on goal, but only tuned the mesh twice. Those around these parts who watched him in his three years at Boston University know he is capable of chipping in at a higher rate than that.