Caron pushing the pace as P-Bruins leading scorer


Caron pushing the pace as P-Bruins leading scorer

So far so good for Bruins winger Jordan Caron as he remains prepared for the end of the NHL lockout by starring in the highest quality AHL competition since the last lockout eight years ago.

Caron potted his fourth goal of the season last weekend in Providences 6-3 loss to the Connecticut Whale at the XL Center, and leads the P-Bruins in goal-scoring with his four tallies. Caron has been particularly dangerous working with Chris Bourque on the power play, and that was the case for Saturday nights show of offense. The 21-year-old winger went straight to the net while Bourque dusted the puck at the right point, and then a brilliant cross-ice pass found Caron wide open on the backdoor.

I want to keep playing the same way. It was a good second-half of the NHL season for me last year and I want to build on that, said Caron. When the NHL starts I want to be ready. I dont want to take anything for granted and I want to be a part of that team.

It was a simple tap-in past Connecticut goaltender Cam Talbot, but it showed the kind of offense Caron is capable of at the minor league level. He clearly turned a corner in the final six weeks of last years NHL regular season when injuries created an opening for him in Boston, and the organization wants to continue to see that consistency in Providence.

They want to see the power forward-type that finished the final 20 games with 4 goals, 10 points and a plus-3 while breathing life into Boston's sputtering offense.

Hes getting his chances. On Friday night he could have had another hat trick when he got robbed on a couple of chances and hit a pipe, said P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. Hes got to play with pace to his game. When he doesnt play with pace and doesnt have his feet moving then he just looks slow.

But when hes moving his feet and it doesnt have to be 100-mph - then hes a good hockey player. He protects the puck low and gets his chances off the wing. I thought Opening Night he looked a little sluggish and Saturday night early he looked a little sluggish. But hes around the net and he gets his chances. He could have six goals right now instead of four. Its just our job to make sure hes playing with that pace.

The 6-foot-3, 204-pounder is tied with Max Sauve for fourth on Providence with 13 shots on goal in the teams first six games, and sits at a minus-3 as the P-Bruins attempt to grind their way back to the .500 level. So there are both flashes or brilliance and tasks for Caron to improve on while hes refining his game at the AHL level.

Its a key piece of his development and something that was missing over the last two years as he bounced between the AHL and NHL, and sometimes sat for weeks at a time in Boston playing behind a Stanley Cup-worthy roster.

Right now Im in Providence and thats where my focus is. Its a little bit different from the last couple of years where I was getting sent down to the AHL and stuff. Thats more difficult, said Caron. Right now I have to be here and Im just focused on that. I want to be more consistent offensively and do what I can every night.

I have a pretty simple style. I just want to continue to play that style and play good defense every night as well.

Caron is off to a good start in Providence, and that third line spot alongside Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly should be his if he keeps pushing the pace with the P-Bruins.

Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'


Brady on Hogan after record-setting night: 'He's been incredible'

FOXBORO -- Someone told Chris Hogan before the AFC Championship that it would be a game he'd look back on 30 years from now and remember in perfect detail. 

That may be difficult for him given the sheer volume of plays he made in Sunday's 36-17 win over the Steelers. Hogan finished the game with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets, surpassing Deion Branch for the franchise record for receiving yards in a postseason game. 

"It'll be something that definitely I'll remember for the rest of my career," he said, "and probably for the rest of my life . . . I'm happy for everyone in this locker room, all these guys in the locker room, the coaches. We've worked so hard to get here, and I was just happy that I was able to help this team get a win tonight."

Hogan did more than that. He was pivotal during New England's first touchdown drive of the night, catching passes on three consecutive plays for a total of 41 yards, and then reeling in an easy 16-yard touchdown when the Steelers defense lost track of him in the right half of the end zone. 

"I moved a little bit to the left because they were pressuring up the middle, and the pocket kind of collapsed," Brady said. "So I kind of slid to the left and I had good vision. They kind of bit down on Julian [Edelman] pretty hard, and then Hogs just was standing there in the back of the end zone."

Hogan's other catches were generally more contested than that one, but several were made without a Steelers defender harrassing him. And when they let him be, he made them pay. 

The flea-flicker pass that resulted in Hogan's second score of the day was a kick in the gut for the Steelers defense, putting the Patriots ahead, 17-6. Brady initially needed a reminder of how Hogan scored his second touchdown of the night, saying, "Oh, the flea-flicker. How could I forget that?"

"We ran one earlier in the year against, I think it was Baltimore, and it worked," Brady added. "I hit Hogan on that one too, on a crossing route. Those were well-executed plays. It's nice when you can take advantage of some of those plays, nice to gain some chunks that way when you kind of get some misdirection or double-pass, flea-flicker, something like that. It's a big spark for the team."

At that point Hogan already had racked up a career day. He had never scored multiple touchdowns in an NFL game coming in, and he set his own career-high for receiving in the postseason with 117 yards. In his first and only playoff game the week before, he had 95 yards on four catches. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury in that game that limited him in practice and made him questionable against the Steelers. But he played, and he gave his team an early boost, helping force the Steelers to play catch-up for the vast majority of the night.

And the injury didn't appear to slow him down all that much. Though there were times when he was slow to get to his feet after being tackled, he showed the kind of speed that allowed him to put himself near the top of the list in the NFL when it comes to yards-per-catch (18.7). Among  receivers with at least 20 catches, he trailed only Sammie Coates (20.7) of the Steelers. 

"He's been incredible," Brady said. "I mean, to lead the league in average yards per catch is spectacular. He's made big plays for us all season. He made big plays in the biggest game of the year for us."

It's one that he'll remember for a long time, but he's hoping to add to that happy memory in two weeks.

"We've grinded throughout this entire year, this is what we worked for, and this is what we wanted to get to," Hogan said. "It's a special moment for all of these guys in this locker room. We'll enjoy this and get back to work because we've got one more."