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.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

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A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff.