Caron comes through for Bruins in season debut

Caron comes through for Bruins in season debut
March 10, 2013, 3:45 pm
Share This Post

WILMINGTON, MA – Jordan Caron and Claude Julien both admitted on Sunday that there were times this year when the chances of the 22-year-old getting back to the NHL this season didn't look good.

Caron battled through a shoulder injury that took him out of the running for a training camp spot, and caught a puck just under the right eye that ripped up his face in a gruesome scene. There were also on-ice struggles at the AHL level as Caron couldn’t build on the career-high 7 goals and 15 points he put up in Boston largely in the last couple months of the season.

Caron had 10 goals in 44 games at the time of his promotion back to the NHL, but went through a dry stretch during the lockout when he produced only one goal in 21 games for the P-Bruins.

“He worked hard. He was strong along the boards and made those plays on Kelly’s goal,” said Claude Julien. “He’s a big, strong power forward that is going to allow us to be better on the walls. He’s also pretty good at giving us some net-front presence and that’s what he was doing yesterday.

“He had been with us in and out over the last couple of years, so I expected him to be up with us at some point. But I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen based on the early injury to his arm/shoulder and the puck in the eye. Things crept up on him and he appeared snake-bitten with the injuries. But the organization felt he’d played a strong half-dozen games in Providence, and he showed that again [against the Flyers].”

But the B’s power forward caught fire after coming back from the facial injury, and had four goals and seven points in his last nine AHL games before getting the call this weekend. Then he assisted on Chris Kelly’s goal in the first period of Saturday afternoon’s win over the Flyers, and played a strong game along the wall and in front of the net while utilizing his 6-foot-2, 202-pound frame.

Caron had one clean shot at the net and missed high and wide while trying to pick the corner, but it was his ability to win puck possession in the corner and execute the pass to Kelly as third man high that created offense.

“I thought [Caron] played extremely well," Kelly said. "I thought he fore-checked well, he skated well, moved the puck up the ice well and he was good in his own end. He made a nice pass on the goal, but he also did a lot of little things that really helped us through the game. He didn’t turn the puck over in our end, and he knew the right time to chip it out of the zone or make a play with the puck.”

It’s exactly what Kelly and Rich Peverley needed on the third line, and it’s exactly what Caron wants to bring at just about the same part of the season where he caught fire with the Bruins last year.

“I just wanted to come up and play my game. It went well [on Saturday],” said Caron. “The injuries were tough mentally to stay focused. A few weeks off the ice set me back a little bit. But it was good for me to see the game at a different angle and it maybe relaxed me a bit. I wasn’t squeezing my stick so tightly when I returned.

“You don’t want to think it’s not going to happen [in the NHL] because then you might stop playing if you have no goal. I just wanted to stay positive and keep working hard in games and practices. I wanted this year to be my first full regular season, but it just didn’t happen because of the lockout, injuries and other stuff. But I’m still young and I have time to do that stuff.”

Caron and Pandolfo both donned the gray practice jerseys again while skating with Kelly and Peverley during Sunday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, but it should be the young power forward getting the call as long as he plays up to his considerable potential.