By MARK DIVVER
Assistant Sports Editor
Trent Whitfield, the captain of the Providence Bruins last season, underwent surgery for a torn Achilles tendon on Wednesday and is expected to be out until mid-February.
Whitfield, 33, was injured while running on Aug. 13, according to coach Rob Murray. Whitfield was training for a shuttle run that players are required to do in training camp.
The loss of Whitfield for a significant chunk of the season "changes the dynamic of the team,'' Murray said. Last season, "if he was in the lineup we were a different team.''
Besides dependable scoring, Whitfield was being counted on to again provide leadership on a team that is expected to be loaded with first-year pros such as Joe Colborne and Max Sauve, and other youngsters.
Whitfield had 17-26-43 totals in 52 games in Providence last season. He had one assist in 16 regular-season games in Boston and was scoreless in four playoff games.
Bruins management is attempting to fill the void left by Whitfield's injury, Murray said, but the fact that training camp is only a few weeks away makes it difficult. Several AHL veterans that the Bruins would have been interested in have already signed to play in Europe.
Providence's training camp is slated to open on Monday, Sept. 27, Murray said.
While the camp roster is not complete, Murray said that defensemen Brandon Gentile and Jack Christian will attend. Several players from the Reading Royals, Boston's East Coast Hockey League affiliate, probably will be invited, too.
Gentile, 23, had 8-22-30 totals in 60 games last season with Flint of the IHL. He played four years at Michigan State.
Christian, 23, had a goal and an assist in 16 games in his senior year at Harvard last season. He missed the 2008-09 season with post-concussion syndrome.
If they don't make the P-Bruins, Gentile and Christian are signed to play for former P-Bruin Brent Thompson with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
Defensemen already under contract and probably ticketed for Providence are Andrew Bodnarchuk, Jeff Penner, Nathan McIver, Steve Kampher, Matt Bartkowski, Yuri Alexandrov and Cody Wild. Yale free agent Ryan Donald, who was signed after Boston's rookie development camp in July, will also be in the mix.
The P-Bruins have known for months that they will open the regular season at home against Springfield on Friday, Oct. 8, and will visit Springfield on Saturday, Oct. 9. The rest of the schedule is tentatively scheduled to be released on Wednesday by the AHL office.