It's a big week for Bruins prospects, and for the birthday cake industry.
In a rather remarkable coincidence, three of Boston's top forward prospects all share the same birthday, and the big day just happens to be this Sunday. Providence teammates Joe Colborne and Max Sauve were both born on Jan. 30, 1990, so they'll be celebrating a big milestone with their 21st birthdays on Sunday.
Ryan Spooner was also born on Jan. 30, but not until 1992. The Kingston Frontenacs forward will be turning 19 on Sunday. All three will have some time to enjoy the festivities. After playing his old club, Peterborough, on Friday and Ottawa Saturday, Spooner and the Frontenacs are off until next Friday, when they take on fellow Bruins prospect Jared Knight and London. Knight is the old man of the group, having already celebrated his 19th birthday all the way back on Jan. 16.
Colborne and Sauve will also get some rest, which could be needed if they take advantage of the opportunity to toast their birthdays with their first legal adult beverages. Providence is off Sunday for the AHL All-Star break, and the P-Bruins don't return to action until Feb. 4, when they host Springfield.
Amazingly, Colborne, Sauve and Spooner aren't the only young Bruins with a reason to celebrate this week. Boston rookie Tyler Seguin's birthday is just one day later, as he'll turn 19 on Monday, just in time for the club's first practice after returning from competing in the rookie skills competition in the NHL All-Star Game this weekend.
The birthday boys are well-represented in this week's Top 10 Bruins Prospects list. To see where they'll be ranked while they're blowing out their candles this week, read on.
1 Last week: 11. Jordan Caron, LW/RW Caron helped Providence get off to a good start last weekend with a power-play goal and an assist in a 5-2 win at Manchester on Friday. He didn't score in the next three games, but does have 5-8-13 totals in 22 games with the P-Bruins.
2 Last week: No. 32. Ryan Spooner, C Spooner prepped for his birthday celebration with a monster week for the Ontario Hockey league's Kingston Frontenacs, collecting 12 points in four games to jump back into the No. 2 spot. Spooner opened with a hat trick and an assist against Guelph on Friday, followed with two assists at Oshawa Saturday, two goals and an assist Sunday against Saginaw and a goal and two assists at Belleville on Wednesday. He now has 28-26-54 totals in 42 games this season.
3 Last week: No. 23. Jared Knight, C/RW Knight slips a spot despite a big week of his own for the OHL's London Knights, as he tallied four goals and two assists for six points in three games. Knight came up with some big scores as well, scoring the tying goal at 12:31 of the third, then the game-winner 2:06 into overtime for a 6-5 win at Oshawa on Sunday. He also had two goals, plus a goal in the opening round of the shootout as London edged Niagara 7-6 on Thursday. For the season, Knight now has 21-30-51 totals in 45 games.
4 Last week: No. 44. Joe Colborne, C Colborne got back on track offensively this week after a quiet start to January. Colborne had just one point in his first eight games this month, but has 2-2-4 totals in his last five games. That included a goal and an assist last Friday against Manchester and a power-play goal for Providence's only score in regulation in a 2-1 shootout win over the Monarchs on Sunday. For the season, Colborne has 11-13-24 totals and is a minus-5 in 45 games.
5 Last week: 45. Matt Bartkowski, D
After playing two games with the big club in a pair of call-ups to Boston earlier in the month, Bartkowski settled back in with Providence this week with an assist, a plus-1 rating and 13 shots in four games. He also had his first pro fight, dropping the gloves with Manchester's Bud Holloway last Friday. The first-year pro out of Ohio State has 4-10-14 totals, 27 penalty minutes and is a minus-5 in 39 games
6 Last week: No. 66. Max Sauve, C/LW Sauve ended a seven-game scoring drought with a two-goal outing on Jan. 15, and this week showed his scoring touch is definitely back with three more goals and two assists in four games with Providence. He had two game-winners during the week, scoring the deciding goals Friday against Manchester and Tuesday at Connecticut, while also scoring in the shootout against the Monarchs on Sunday. Sauve now has 12-5-17 totals and is a plus-4 in 26 games, with exactly half of his goals giving Providence victories with six game-winners.
7 Last week: No. 87. Zach Hamill, C Hamill chipped in two more assists and was a plus-2 in four games for Providence, as the 2007 first-round pick continues to make up for a horrid start to the season. Hamill also had a goal in Sunday's shootout, though he remains primarily a setup man with 3-24-27 totals in 42 games. That's good for second on the team in scoring and his plus-5 is the best plus/minus among Providence's forwards.
8 Last week: No. 98. Jamie Arniel, C It was a good week for Arniel, who snapped out of a scoring slump and was added to the AHL All-Star Game as Providence's representative with original selection Steven Kampfer remaining up with the big club. Arniel had three assists in four games this week after managing just two in his previous 10 games. He still has now gone 14 games without a goal, but does lead Providence in goals (14), points (29) and shots (153) in 44 games this season.
9 Last week: No. 10 9. Craig Cunningham, C
Cunningham is climbing back up the standings in the Western Hockey League scoring race, moving up to a tie for sixth after an eight-point week. He had three goals and five assists and was a plus-6 in four games with Portland, helping the Winterhawks win all four as Portland now sits in first place in the Western Conference at 33-14-0-3. Cunningham has 7-10-17 totals in 13 games since being traded from Vancouver to Portland, and 17-45-62 totals in 49 games overall.
10 Last week: No. 710. Ryan Button, D
Button's season hit a bump as an upper-body injury sidelined him for both of Seattle's games this week. His loss was felt as the Thunderbirds dropped both decisions, and continue to cling to the final playoff spot in the WHL's Western Conference. Button, who has 3-22-25 totals and 39 penalty minutes in 49 games split between Prince Albert and Seattle, is expected to be out for a few weeks.