The data tells it crisply. With the calendar Zamboni taking its first monthly shift of the season, the Providence Bruins are in a half-full state.
At 5-5-1 for half of the 22 possible points after 11 games, the P-Bruins are essentially lodged in third place of the five-member Atlantic Division. The Worcester Sharks, who have five games in hand as well as four on the St. John’s IceCaps, boast the AHL’s best winning percentage at .833 and have only lost one point out of a possible 12 to none other than these Bruins.
Were they to repeat the rate that they set through the first one-sevenths of the slate, the P-Bruins would frankly be bound for a third consecutive Calder Cup playoff no-show. That said, they are fortunate to have what they have to build upon and the resources for redress figure to be available.
Whether it is through better play or better health, a mass multitude of Providence players can be leaned upon to give the Baby Bs a supra-.500 month of November. The eight players to track are as follows in alphabetical order:
Jamie Arniel: Last year’s leading goal- and point-getter currently leads the P-Bruins with 34 shots on net, yet has put only one of those in the net. He is also worst among all Providence forwards with a minus-4 rating, although that was primarily compounded by two poor defensive outings against Manchester and St. John’s (Oct. 14 and last Sunday).
Ryan Button: Recalled from Reading on Tuesday after three conditioning games, Button was limited to two appearances with Providence last month due to injury and illness.
Marc Cantin: The rookie defender has played in all but two games and dug up a team-worst minus-7 ditch in that span.
Josh Hennessy: One in a handful of players to miss to the start of the game schedule, Hennessy hit the ice churning on the second weekend of action, scoring three points―all on the power play, no less―on six shots within his first two games. In the seven games since, he has logged a cumulative nine shots, including only five in the last four, and his only appearances on the scoresheet have been a pair of penalties.
Zach McKelvie: Like Hennessy, McKelvie was out with an injury on opening weekend. Since coming into the active lineup, the rookie blueliner has been an utter nonfactor and has been on the ice for multiple opposing goals in three out of seven outings. To his credit, though, he has at least mustered a shot on net in each of his last three games.
Max Sauve: He came down from Boston right at the conclusion of NHL training camp, scored the first Providence goal of the season less than five minutes in, then disappeared. Sauve had four pointless games before missing the last two weekends with a concussion. But he figures to return for Friday’s home date with Manchester, at which point he will begin striving to stave off the sophomore slide.
Jamie Tardif: Another striker who was ailing for the second half of the month, Tardif’s was most conspicuously amiss under the SOG heading in his first five appearances. After scoring 27 goals on 230 registered stabs for the Grand Rapids Griffins last year, the veteran is 2-for-12 in that regard with the P-Bruins so far. But now that the team in general is launching more rubber, Tardif ought to dole more out himself.
Trent Whitfield: Can the captain make history repeat? Only 10 months removed from returning from an Achilles affliction, Whitfield should be able to thaw out his game a little quicker on the other side of an upper-body injury. After five pointless games and a six-game stint on the sidelines, the ice is Whitfield’s to break.