PROVIDENCE, RI There were high hopes for Jordan Caron asthe most notable member of last years Boston Bruins team finding haven in theAHL with the P-Bruins during the NHL lockout. Caron started off strong withfour goals in his first six games including a hat trick against the ManchesterMonarchs, but its been a struggle for the 2009 first-round pick over the lastfew months.
Caron has gone scoreless in his last seven games and has onlyone goal scored in his last 19 games with Providence while routinely skatingwith AHL skill players like Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif. Thestruggles continued on Sunday in Providences 4-0 loss to the St. JohnsIceCaps as Caron was saddled with three minor penalties, including ahigh-sticking call in the first period that led directly to the IceCaps secondgoal.
The 22-year-old finished with three shots on net,but he didnt seem to have his best skating legs while playing his third game inthree days. Its been important to the NHL coaching staff to see Caron use his 6-foot-2,200-pound frame in front of the net and up his physical play in all zones, butthere was little of that on Sunday aside from the actions leading to elbowing,high-sticking and holding calls on the ice.
Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted followingSundays loss that Caron has been struggling a bit as of late, and he certainlywants to be playing his best hockey if the NHL suddenly starts up in the nextfew weeks.
He hasnt scored a point in a while for a guy that playson the power play and plays up in the lineup, said Cassidy. Its a concernfor everybody. At some point something good has to happen for him. Hes hadnights where the puck has been following him and he hasnt been able to buryit.
Its the American Hockey League, and if you want to get outof here then you have to produce . . . unless youve got a spot waiting for you. Imnot management in Boston, so I dont know. But for most guys youve got to finda way to get it done. Hes probably in that boat along with everybody else.
Nobody is looking for Caron to become the AHLs leadingscorer or to put any dazzle into his blue collar game a game that the Bruinsappreciate for his strength on the puck and solid work along the boards but theresalso going to be some hot competition for the wing spot on the third line. RyanSpooner has shown that hes capable offensively in his first extended AHLaction, and Bourque leads all P-Bruins scorers with 20 points while showing thekind of poise necessary for the NHL.
If Caron hopes to keep a strangle-hold on that NHL job,turning on his A game at the AHL level should be a priority. Theres no doubt now is as good atime as any for Caron to snap out of the personal AHL dry spell thats beenkeeping him down.