Tuesday, November 8, 2011

P-Bruins Log: Cohen, MacDonald Stirring Another Not-So-Great Fall

The last time Colby Cohen inserted a goal for the Providence Bruins, the New England Patriots were waiting to see whom they would host the following week in the AFC Divisional playoffs.

In the interim, the Pats have lost an unexpected heartbreaker to the New York Jets in that aforementioned playoff game, brooked a brief lockout with their 31 NFL cohabitants and are now 5-3 at the halfway mark of their season. All the while, Cohen has appeared in 56 AHL games and registered 92 shots on goal, all of them repelled by opposing stoppers.

The last time veteran P-Bruins’ forward Kirk MacDonald tuned the mesh in extramural game action, the celestial Boston Red Sox were one weekend away from commencing the 2011 season with an American League pennant ostensibly on tap.

In the interim, the Sox have sandwiched a rather succulent summer with two pieces of musty white bread in April and September and subsequently undergone a rapid front office overhaul. All the while, MacDonald has played 20 AHL games and taken 41 shortcoming shots. That has left his career goal bushel at 32 through 178 appearances in Providence, just as it was after 158 twirls with the Spoked-P.

This is someone who has tallied a respectable 14 and 15 goals over his first two full seasons in the AHL, who tied Max Sauve for third on last year’s Providence scoring chart with 38 points.

Then again, this is also someone who went through a 25-game goal drought between Oct. 15 and Dec. 17 of last season.

Over the 68 games that followed, with an underachieving core all around him, MacDonald sprinkled 13 strikes, culminating in a two-goal performance as part of a 4-2 win over Connecticut on March 27.

Since then, apart from seven assists, he has had an arid April, an O-fer October and is just coming off a pointless three-game weekend to commence the month of November.

These bipolar trends are nothing new to the likes of Cohen, either. The sophomore defenseman has all of two professional strikes to his credit after a cumulative 80 outings between the Lake Erie Monsters, Colorado Avalanche and P-Bruins.

Upon dropping out of Boston University at the conclusion of his junior season in March 2010―but not before inserting 25 goals on 199 shots―Cohen made three late-season appearances for Lake Erie.

The following year, he slugged in his first professional goal at San Antonio on Oct. 17. But he managed no other points while injuries, a brief call-up and his trade to the Bruins system for Matt Hunwick confined him to 14 total outings with the Monsters.

On the other side of his transfer and recovery, Cohen capped off his first three-game weekend with the P-Bruins by charging up a goal-assist value pack in a Jan. 9 tangle with Binghamton.

He has since added 13 helpers in 57 outings. But his shooting percentage is hardly a smooth translation of his college transcript, which included a highlight-reel, homeward-bound floater that clinched BU the 2009 national title.

As a collegian, Cohen penetrated the goalie on 12.56 percent of his registered stabs. As a professional, he has gone 2-for-128 for a 1.56 success rate, a full 11 percent drop in accuracy.

Of the 12 players who have skated for the Spoked-Ps and have yet to tune the mesh this season, MacDonald and Cohen have taken the most stabs with 29 and 25, respectively. Nobody else has broken the 20-SOG plateau without watching at least two of their bids light the lamp.

Summons to The Show?
Boston grinder Daniel Paille was termed “day-to-day” late Tuesday afternoon, one day after a shot by former Bruin and current New York Islander Steve Staios clipped him in the face. The P-Bruins’ parents were missing Rich Peverley to begin with and have not detailed his status for the team’s next game versus Edmonton on Thursday.

Either way, there is a good chance Boston will not have its spare 13th forward available in the immediate future and even the quorum of 12 game-day strikers is not guaranteed.

Accordingly, while there was hardly any word of it on Tuesday’s off-day, one can expect the first offensive promotion of the season.

Between various injuries and slumps, the number of enticing options is slim-to-none. But two viable candidates include top scorer Zach Hamill and Josh Hennessy, a 20-game veteran from his Ottawa days who had a hand in all three Providence goals over the weekend.