By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
MONTREAL Chris Clark knows hes up against a great deal of young talent in a Bruins training camp competition for roster spots.
Jordan Caron has a track record with his Bruins teammates, still has plenty of upside as a 20-year-old winger capable of playing up and down the lineup, and hes also enjoyed an impressive overalltraining camp with the Bs. It was a year ago at this time that Caron dominated the Canadiens in preseasonwith his size, strength and ability to protect the puck for long, punishing shifts and actually cracked the Bruins opening nightroster based on his camp along with the impressive physical abilities that made him a former first round pick.Benoit Pouliot has ideal size as a 6-foot-3 forward capable of playing a physical style and putting up points as he did averaging 15 goals over the last two seasons inMontreal but he arrived in Boston with some discipline question marksand a stubborn label as a career underachiever.
Both are young skaters brimming with talent, and both are ready to take regular shifts with the Bruins in a role that has yet to be fully determined. Pouliot could be a candidate to skate out the right wing spot with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, but he could also become an energy line henchmen banging around bodies with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.
Caron has enjoyed an excellent camp with two strong games against the Canadiens, but Pouliot was merely been okay with a boarding penalty against the Ottawa Senators ranking as his most notable moment. Its expected that Pouliot will need some time to get accustomed to a new Bs offensive and defensive system, but Julien appears ready to have that kind of patience for a young player brimming with potential.If it were up to the coach, however, Julien has long since had an admiration for Caron and his approach to the game of hockey. So that's certainly a factor as well.
That leaves Clark as a 35-year-old veteran trying to capture a job, and that much has been obvious in the early going of Bs camp as he tries to make an impression. Clark assisted on a Brad Marchandgoal in Sundays win over the Habs in Halifax, and scored his first Bruins goal on Monday night off a sweet pass from Max Sauve. The Clark strike turned out to be the game-winner and allowed him to keep pace with the younger players he's competing with.
It was a good breakout by us. We got it to the blueline the way wanted it be, and then a seam opened up for a great pass, said Clark. That was a great play, and I was fortunate enough to put it in the net. I had a couple of other chances like the goal earlier in game and I wasnt able to bury them.
The intangibles have been off the charts for Clark during camp as hes taken on ice bags while jumping in front of pucks during the penalty kill -- and thrown shoulders at teammates during scrimmages to let them knowhe means business. Competition like that is gold in training camp, and Clark capped it off with the game-winning strike atthe Bell Centre -- the first official gesture as a member of the Bruins against the Habs in a Black and Gold career that could be year-long or incredibly fleeting.Either way, Clark has his eyes on the prize.
Overall we have been talking about making the team," Clark said, "and a goal certainly doesnt hurt me.
Clark also lamented several plays he left out on the ice Monday night against the Habs above and beyond the goal he scored. That must be the veteran in him as he's trying to do every last thing to hook on with the Bruins for their Cuprepeat attempt that kicks off against the Flyers on Oct. 6 and hes actually got a 35-year-old punchers chanceof making it if he keeps bringing veteran know-how to the table.