Caron hopes for big rookie season with Bruins

297813.jpg

Caron hopes for big rookie season with Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON While Jordan Caron isnt taking part in the rookie training camp or any first year festivities, the 21-year-old could be the most impactful rookie skating for the Bruins this season.

Caron actually cracked the opening night Bs roster in Prague last season after an impressive training camp, and played respectable hockey in 23 NHL games with seven points (three goals, four assists) and a plus-3 over the span. The Quebec native does many of the things that the Bruins put value in: he plays responsible two-way hockey, skates with strength on the puck and has an admirable work ethic that should allow his game to continue growing over the course of his career.

With Mark Recchi retired and Michael Ryder moving on to the Dallas Stars there will be at least two forward roster spots up for grabs heading into the season with Benoit Pouliot, Tyler Seguin and Caron essentially competing for two spots as training camp begins. Things could change and a rookie or two could emerge during camp as they normally do, but the 2009 first round pick knows its a pivotal year for him.

The novelty of playing in the NHL is over for Caron, and now its about the business of becoming a pro hockey player.

I was pretty excited when I came in to Boston the other night and it was great stepping on the ice with them again, said Caron, who made his first appearance at Bs captains practice on Tuesday. I think I want to improve every season. I think I got better last year and I want to keep improving this year. I want to spend the whole season in Boston, make my name with the team and get a full time job.

Caron showed plenty of potential, but would need to be better than 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 47 games and a minus-7 for the Providence Bruins last year if hes going to stick in Boston. The youngster knew he had to work to do, and spent the summer with Patrice Bergeron and Antoine Vermette in Quebec City gearing his offseason program around improving his skating speed.

If I play the way Im supposed to and do what I have to then I put all of the chances to make the team on my side, said Caron. Its pretty much the same thing every year for me. Ive been told to improve my skating and my explosion. I also think one thing that will help me with offensively is going to the net. If I get faster then its going to be even better offensively. I also realized that I shouldnt be afraid to try some different things offensively.

Caron was one of Bergerons guests during his day with the Cup in Quebec City, and the youngster was blown away by the reception for their native son as he trekked the Stanley Cup around the city. The 21-year-old didnt do much raising or touching of the Cup on his own, however, after serving as one of the Black Aces through the postseason.

That will come when Caron carves out a role for himself in Boston and the Bruins go about the business of repeating as Stanley Cup champs.

Here are the Bs expected forward lines when the regular season begins, but it all could change depending on performances during training camp.

Lucic-Krejci-Horton

Marchand-Bergeron-Peverley

CaronPouliot-Kelly-Seguin

Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

BRIGHTON, Mass – Let’s start with the straight fact that it’s asinine, apologist drivel to let the Bruins off the hook, and perpetuate an off-the-mark myth there isn’t enough talent on the B's roster to be a playoff hockey team.

They are middle-of-the-road in the talent department to be sure, and the roster depth clearly isn’t what it was in their elite years, as the Bruins balance an aging core group with an influx of youthful talent from the next generation. But this is also a proud, talented group with one of the best all-around centers in the NHL in Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Fame defenseman in Zdeno Chara, a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate and in-his-prime All-Star left winger in Brad Marchand, an emerging 20-year-old offensive superstar in David Pastrnak and a former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender still in his prime in Tuukka Rask.

That doesn’t even mention high-end players David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug that are game-changing talents in their own right.

Combine that with the other players on the Bruins roster and this is a team interspersed with proud Stanley Cup winning players and enough talent to still take care of business in the final eight games and punch their playoff ticket. Winning a Cup in 2011 can never be taken away from Chara, Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Adam McQuaid, and neither can the seven straight seasons in the playoffs under Claude Julien.

But there’s a danger now of some late-in-the-game tarnish on Black and Gold legacies for some of those distinguished, proud players if they once again collapse down the stretch this season and miss the playoffs for the third year in a row with a late-season nosedive. Four consecutive regulation losses have cast doubt into everything for the Bruins and roused all the same old uncomfortable questions from the past three years.

Bergeron and Marchand need to find their best games and dominate the way elite players do in big-game situations like Saturday night vs. the Isles. Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano need to show they're ready for the playoffs.Rask needs to finally show he's ready to shine as a No. 1 goalie and lead his team to victory in a big game rather than buckle under weighty pressure. 

“This is their legacy, those guys. They are Stanley Cup champions and they missed last year. Each year we talk about writing our own story, and I believe that because guys come and go,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “But generally there is a core group of guys and it’s their legacy. I’m sure they want to reach the playoffs and get back to being a Stanley Cup contender every year.

“That’s what they want and to a man I’m sure they would tell you that. I do believe that they believe it’s different [this season]. Until you change the course of your results, those questions are going to come. We have to change the results to make then go away. One week of not getting results that we want doesn’t mean we’re panicking, but we do understand what’s at stake. We want to be playing in April and May.”

If the Bruins can’t pull out a win on Saturday night against the Islanders, who just pushed even with them at 82 points on the season, then their playoff lives will no longer be under their own control anymore. It will become another late-season choke job by a team that will have its character and courage questioned. The highs of six years ago will be matched by the bitter lows of the past three seasons.

People won’t talk about a scrappy, little underdog Bruins team that just couldn’t get over the hump once again. Instead, they’ll lament a formerly proud, tough-minded group of hockey players that somehow turned into NHL tomato cans all too willing to play the victim once the going got tough late in the regular season.

That’s no way to go out if you’ve ever had your name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Bruins that know better should be taking that to heart right now.