Caron struggling for P-Bruins in lead role

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Caron struggling for P-Bruins in lead role

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.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."