Bruins opening things up for Caron

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Bruins opening things up for Caron

While it appeared the writing was on the wall for Benoit Pouliot and the Bruins, one of the biggest factors in his move to the Tampa Bay Lightning was the rise of rookie winger Jordan Caron.

The 20-year-old former first round pick was one of Bostons best forwards down the home stretch of the regular season as others battled fatigue and injuries, and he has earned himself a longer look going into training camp.

Pouliot stood in the way of Carons progress given that both were earmarked for third line winger roles, and Caron is coming off career-highs in goals (seven), assists (eight) and points (15) heading into a show it to me kind of season.

So its clear the Bruins and GM Peter Chiarelli want to see Caron get a chance to develop as a potential power forward while cutting ties with a player in Pouliot they werent going to bringing back.

We want to leave some flexibility, spacenot cap space or anything. I call it development space for Jordan Caron to kind of blossom and grow a little bit more as a player, said Chiarelli. The Pouliot trade does this.

Now if we add a player down the line the rest of the summer, we still feel had we kept Ben Benoit Pouliot and added another player, it really wouldve boxed out Caron so thats reason one.

The Bruins are still searching for a Mark Recchi-type forward once the free-agency period opens on July 1, and that could mean Caron has some veteran competition for a forward spot in September. But that will be a good old-fashioned training camp battle that should bring the best out of both Caron and whatever veteran finds himself in the Bs mix.

If Caron can get what Pouliot got I would be happy. Hes a bigger body. He came on toward the end of last year. Hes put some time in the minors. He knows whats important in his game and what he has to focus on, said Chiarelli. So you know its about the latter stages of development for Jordan and he really knows what we want him to work on and he started doing that. Hes a younger guy and you have to give him a chance.

If a certain player at a certain price falls in our lap, then weve got to do it. Then once again on its face it looks were boxing out Jordan for a roster spot. But thats the way the cookie crumblesif you can improve yourself you do it.

While both Joe Corvo and Pouliot looked solid statistically last season with the Bruins, its no coincidence Boston has moved on from both players after they committed costly mistakes for the team at different points last season.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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