Caron coming into his own

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Caron coming into his own

Those waiting for Jordan Caron to cool down might have to take a number and start grabbing for the nearest Snickers bar.

It looks like the 21-year-old Bruins winger wont be going anywhere for a while after another solid, strong performance in a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Claude Julien raised an eyebrow or two when he trotted Brian Rolston out with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for that lines first shift of the game, but Caron was quickly back skating on the right side with Bergeron and Marchand.

Bergeron was clearly on a mission carrying defenders in the offensive zone, winning key face-offs and holding off Washingtons best offensive forwards.

But Caron was right there alongside his fellow Quebec native.

Its just more confidence, and obviously a bit more playing time I think thats huge. When you feel you have the confidence of everybody, I think it gets you going and you feel more comfortable out there, said Caron. Right now its good, but we came up short a
little bit against Washington. Obviously were going to have a tough challenge tomorrow, so were going to have to bounce back and be ready to battle.

It was Caron that started the Bruins game-tying goal in the second period when he used his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame like a battering ram, and caused a Washington turnover when he rushed Alex Ovechkin.

The Russian sniper quickly threw the puck back toward the defensive zone as Caron slammed into him in between the two benches along the side boards, and that allowed Marchand to turn it into a partial breakaway.

Marchand made a quick move with his hands that faked out Tomas Vokoun and gave the Bs agitator a five-hole target to shoot at, but make no mistake: that play was started by a physical Caron without the assist to show for it in the scoresheet.

Jordan made a great play to force Ovechkin and make him throw the puck away. It kind of bounced of the defensemans shin pad in open ice. I went in, tried to make a move, the five-hole opened up and I slid it in, said Marchand. Caron is playing really well right now.

He works very hard. Hes a big body and he controls the puck very well down by the net.

He seems to have a little confidence right now and we can feed off of that. We enjoy playing against the big lines and trying to shut them down. Caron is good defensively and he comes back hard and hes good positionally so he definitely contributes to the line.

The winger finally did extend his point streak to four games when he fired a shot at the net in the third period that turned into second-chance attempts for both Marchand and Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk finished things off for Bostons third goal, and gave Caron an assist for his seventh point in the last four games.

So the 2008 former first round pick, brimming with newfound confidence, continues to show all of the attributes that made him a top prospect and appears to have found a home among the top six forwards on the Bruins.

Eventually Julien settled on Rolston with Chris Kelly and rookie Lane MacDermid, and the top three line combos allowed Julien to match Bergeron, Marchand and Caron against Alex Ovechkin whenever his line headed to the ice. Caron was basically lined up against Ovechkin throughout the night, and the rookie helped keep Ovie quiet.

I thought Caron did a great job. He was lined up against Alex Ovechkin. Certainly we needed our third line as well to be good for us tonight. We moved up Lane MacDermid with Rolly Brian Rolston and Kellysome experience there, said Claude Julien. We did the best we could with our lineup and as far as Im concerned, I thought Caron did a good job. Hes a big enough body. When Ovechkin challenged him physically he was up to the task.

With Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley still out of the lineup -- and Horton just now resuming light activity without any timetable in place to get out on the ice the Bruins needed somebody to develop into an effective winger on the right side. While many thought it would be Rolston after the trade that brought him back into the Boston fold, its been Caron after a two-year apprenticeship with the Bruins thats given the youngster a world class hockey education.

As some point things were going to click in for Caron physically and offensively, and it appears that both are coinciding at exactly the right time for a young player looking to land himself a permanent spot in Boston. Caron still isnt quite there yet, but the prospects of a
roster spot being open to him on a stacked playoff squad have become much brighter in the last two weeks.

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.