Caron injury opens up potential roster battle for Bruins

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Caron injury opens up potential roster battle for Bruins

With the NHL lockout over and a regular season for the Boston Bruins just around the corner, the chatter naturally turns to roster debates. The third line winger role was one of the few open competition spots on the Boston roster with Jordan Caron, Chris Bourque and Ryan Spooner standing as the three most likely candidates.

Whichever forward makes the Boston club will likely slot in with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly on a third line thats proven to be vital to the Bs success over the last two years.

While the 21-year-old Caron was long thought to be the favorite to claim that spot after finishing off last year with a flourish in that role, the former first round pick suffered an upper body injury on Friday night skating with the Providence Bruins. According to reports, Caron left the ice holding his left arm gingerly immediately after sustaining the injury.

P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy had indicated that Caron would be out almost three weeks, and that would keep him out of the Boston lineup for at least the first handful of games.

Caron has actually struggled a bit with eight points (6 goals, 2 assists) in 31 games along with a minus-6 rating for Providence, and those numbers look even more tepid when considering the Bruins forward collected three of those goals in one bravura performance against the Manchester Monarchs.

Meanwhile the 26-year-old Bourque, who graduates to a one-way contract with Boston in 2013-14 no matter what happens this season, has 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists) in 31 games for a Providence team that hasnt exactly been lighting it up offensively.

Every night he makes a couple of high-end plays," P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Sometimes the rest of the guys arent ready for them.

He does some high-end things that our guys are getting used to. Hell take some high-risk plays, but they work out a lot more than they dont when its him making them. Hes competitive, he cares, he battles and he wants to be out there all the time.

Clearly the history of the Bourque family in Black and Gold would make him a compelling story off the ice, but hes also consistently been Providences best player on the ice. The 20-year-old Spooner has 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games for Providence during his first full AHL season, and has shown the kind of offensive instincts and playmaking skills that were advertised as a 2010 second round draft pick.

The expectation is that a handful of players including Bourque, Spooner and perhaps Lane MacDermid and Jamie Tardif among others will be called up to Boston at the end of next week for a brief NHL training camp prior to a 48-50 game season.

May the best man or the healthiest, anyway win the spot.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?