|Looking back and ahead: Jordan Caron||05.18.12 at 4:23 pm ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 48 games played, 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, even rating
Contract status: signed through 2012-13 season ($1.1 million cap hit), restricted free agent after next season
Looking back: After going back and forth between Boston and Providence and playing in 23 NHL games in the 2010-11 season, Caron’s goal this time around was to stay with the big club for the entire 2011-12 campaign.
That didn’t exactly happen, as Caron was sent to Providence six different times this past season. Unlike his first taste of the NHL in the Bruins’ Cup-winning season, however, Caron was able to sustain a stretch in which he made clear why the Bruins selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft.
Caron totaled eight points over a six-game run from March 4-13 (four goals, four assists), and even saw his impressive play earn him time as a top-six forward after spending the vast majority of his NHL ice time as a third-or-fourth-liner.
Though his improved play down the stretch forced Daniel Paille to sit as the healthy scratch late in the season, Caron began the postseason in the press box. When the Bruins were struggling for offensive production in the first round, it seemed Caron could be inserted into the lineup in place of a fourth-liner in hopes of giving the team a bit of an offensive spark. Such strategy became a moot point, as Patrice Bergeron‘s oblique injury (which prevented him from taking faceoffs), forced Julien to play Caron instead of Shawn Thornton for the last two games against Washington just in case Bergeron went down during the game and the team needed a noter top-six forward.
Bergeron was able to play through the pain in Games 6 and 7, so Caron averaged 6:41 of ice time in his first two career playoff games.
Looking ahead: While Benoit Pouliot‘s surprising consistency and the trade for Brian Rolston made it tough for Caron to stay in the lineup (and even on the NHL roster) for the entire season, you would have to think that next season will be Caron’s time to stick.
Given the plethora of free agent forwards (Rolston, Chris Kelly, Paille, Gregory Campbell and the restricted Pouliot) and the fact that the B’s wouldn’t want to stunt to their former first-round pick’s development, the stars seem to be aligning for Caron to finally be given a full-time chance in the NHL.
Caron has spent practically all of his time in the NHL this point as a bottom-six forward when he’s been in the lineup, and it would seem that he’ll be in for more of the same next year. If Paille isn’t re-signed, Caron could end up skating with Campbell and Thornton while pushing for time on the third line. That isn’t to say there might not be immediate opportunity for Caron on the third line by the time training camp rolls around. Rolston could retire, the team could opt to not retain Pouliot or Kelly could opt for a bigger paycheck in a different market. Should Kelly leave, Rich Peverley could be an option to play center in Kelly’s place, and if either Rolston or Pouliot isn’t back, Caron could take the vacated wing spot. The Quebec native has played both left and right wing in the NHL for the B’s.
The thinking here is that the Bruins should do what they can to ensure Caron gets a prolonged look on the third line next season, preferably with Kelly as the pivot should they bring back the alternate captain. While the team’s offensive depth is undeniable, the Bruins have yet to fully replace Michael Ryder‘s offensive production with a third-line winger. With a full season, something along the lines of 18 goals shouldn’t be too out of reach for Caron.
Regardless of line he plays on next season, Caron will also be an option to serve more as a penalty killer for the B’s. Claude Julien obviously values two-way players highly, so don’t think he won’t try to get everything he can out of the defensively savvy youngster.
|Brian Rolston is finally over ‘whatever happened in Long Island’||03.28.12 at 12:33 pm ET|
February 27 was a day of liberation for Brian Rolston.
He was traded from the hapless New York Islanders with no chance of making the playoffs back to the Bruins, who are still among the favorites to reach another Stanley Cup final.
Rolston has certainly been inspired.
In his current seven-game scoring streak, he has three goals and nine assists, already matching his productivity in 49 games with the Islanders this season. The Bruins have won three in a row for the first time in over 40 games.
“Just been given a great opportunity, the coaches have shown a lot of confidence in me in certain situations that gives me confidence as a player, and obviously playing with two great players helps out a lot as well,” Rolston said after Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Tampa Bay. “I think we just have good chemistry together, that’s about it. I’ve produced over my career and you know whatever happened in Long Island happened in Long Island and it’s past that now.”
What happened on Long Island was four goals and five assists in 49 games for the team that has served as the perennial doormat of the Eastern Conference for the last decade.
Rolston has tasted success from the Stanley Cup before, winning it all with the 1995 New Jersey Devils. He sees these Bruins picking up momentum at just the right time.
“Well, you know obviously we had two real tough games on the road that we won, those were huge games for us,” Rolston said. “Just to get confidence, when you win you get confidence. This team is so good structurally that it’s just a matter of time before you do put it together, but this is a good time to put it together for sure and it’s a good team in here, great team.”
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is notoriously humble and soft spoken about his own accomplishments.
That’s why it’s often a good idea to listen to his teammates and coach when trying to gauge what impact he’s had on the Bruins, even a teammate like Brian Rolston who hasn’t shared a dressing room with him for that long.
Asked what he’s learned about Chara since coming back to Boston in a deadline trade with the Islanders, Rolston was honest enough.
“Probably nothing,” Rolston said. “He’s so hard to play against; he’s a tremendous leader. Obviously he does that by example, but he’s the toughest guy to play against in the league – bar none. If you were to pull the forwards on every team they would say the same thing and coming in on a nightly basis knowing that you have to face him – it’s a tough task.”
Rolston set up the game-winner of Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Tampa Bay when he tried a wraparound midway through the third, only to have the puck flutter its way out to a wide open Benoit Pouliot. But the heroics of Rolston and Pouliot don’t happen without Chara, who has he did all night, brought the puck in deep into the offensive zone to apply more pressure on a team known for its stingy defense.
The secondary assist was Chara’s third of the night, a night on which Chara matched a career-high with three helpers and was honored before the game for becoming the latest and greatest member of the NHL’s 1000-game club.
“Yeah, those were big,” Rolston added. “Z had a great game, another great game for us. It’s huge, it’s huge – if you can get the defensemen helping out, and especially against on team like that that collapses down all the time. It’s difficult to get anything going down low so it’s great to have defensemen contributing offensively.”
That’s exactly what Chara did when he took the puck midway through the first at the Tampa Bay blue line and charged around the zone like Wayne Gretzky, eventually running at the net, creating a scoring chance for Shawn Thornton when Dwayne Roloson left a juicy rebound.
“Basically, I get a puck on the blueline, I was trying to ride the blueline and then just kind of opened up and I really decided to challenge that seam and once I got a little bit more room, I was kind of deciding between a shot and pass,” Chara explained. “But again, everything was happened and I decided to take it to the net and we’ve always been taught when you do those things, good things happen and they did. We scored on the rebound, and it ended up being a good play.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Greg Zanon won’t play for Bruins Tuesday night||02.28.12 at 12:17 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he expects additions Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau to be in the lineup when the B’s take on the Senators Tuesday night. Greg Zanon just arrived in Boston and did not take part in the morning skate and will not play Tuesday.
Julien added that forward Shawn Thornton, who has been sick recently, is expected to be in the lineup. Thornton was present for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Rolston, who was acquired with Mottau from the Islanders Monday, centered Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron in the morning skate.
Julien said he was “really happy with the moves, which provide the B’s with depth for the stretch run.
“Depth doesn’t mean they don’t belong in our lineup,” Julien said, “it means we have a lot more options now.”
|Breaking down Bruins’ additions of Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau, Brian Rolston||02.27.12 at 4:14 pm ET|
After what was looking like a very quiet trade deadline, the Bruins did indeed pull of a pair of trades, landing the likes of Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston. According to capgeek.com, the Bruins added $7.8 million against the salary cap with the three trades.
B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli is set to address the media at 5:00 p.m. here at TD Garden. Until then, here are some quick reactions to the two deals.
Zanon deal: Bruins trade defenseman Steve Kampfer to Wild for defenseman Greg Zanon
Reaction: At face value, the Bruins traded a defenseman who couldn’t crack the top six for a defenseman who should end up on the second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg.
Zanon, 31, is in the last year of his contract and carries a $2.1 million cap hit. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound veteran averaged 18:37 of ice time in Minnesota this season, and last year he was second in the league with 212 blocked shots. That makes him a solid pickup, especially if he can fit well with Seidenberg for the rest of the season before Claude Julien presumably reunites the Seidenberg-Zdeno Chara super pairing.
Of course, if Zanon ends up playing on Seidenberg’s pairing, that would mean that Joe Corvo has lost his spot in the Bruins’ lineup (at least once Johnny Boychuk is back in the lineup). That’s the assumption at this point, as it seemed all along that one of the Bruins’ biggest needs at the deadline was an upgrade at Corvo’s spot. Corvo, a free agent at season’s end, has been prone to bad turnovers and has not produced as much offensively as he has in seasons past with other clubs.
One stat with Zanon that sticks out: He has just 27 shots on goal in 39 games this season. By comparison, Adam McQuaid has the lowest total amongst Bruins’ regulars with 39. He’s played six more games than Zanon, but he’s also average about three less minutes per game.
As far as the compensation goes, consider this scribe somewhat surprised to see Kampfer go. The 22-year-old blue liner had been up for stretches at a time over the last two seasons. He showed promise with his speed and skills in the offensive zone, but he never got enough consecutive games this season to look quite as comfortable as he did when he was first called up by the Bruins last season.
The good news for Kampfer is that he’ll get a break from life as a seventh defenseman and actually play in Minnesota.
Mottau/Rolston deal: Bruins trade AHL defenseman Marc Cantin and forward Yannick Riendeau to Islanders for defenseman Mike Mottau and forward Brian Rolston
Chiarelli brought a couple of players back to Boston, as Mottau played his college hockey at Boston College, while Rolston played five seasons for the Bruins after being acquired in the Ray Bourque deal.
Mottau was recently activated off injured reserve by the Islanders, as he was out from Dec. 29 until Sunday with a concussion. In 29 games this season, the 31-year-old has two assists and a minus-10 rating. He should be an extra guy on the Bruins’ lineup.
As for Rolston, he becomes the Bruins’ lone pickup to address their injury-bitten offense. With both Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) out, the 39-year-old Rolston is by no means a replacement for either, though he can handle minutes on the Bruins’ third line for the time being. He also brings a good veteran presence. From his days with the Bruins (2000-2004), only Patrice Bergeron remains on the roster.
As NESN’s Douglas Flynn notes, Rolston’s $5.0625 million cap hit actually makes him the Bruins’ highest-paid forward, and second-highest player behind Chara ($6.9 million).
This trade lands the B’s a couple of veterans whose impact will be limited, but given the cost, it was a deal worth making. Neither Cantin nor Riendeau figure to make much of an impact at the NHL level.
|Bruins add three players at trade deadline||at 3:30 pm ET|
The Bruins reportedly added three players on the day of the NHL trade deadline, swinging a deal with the Islanders for former Bruin Brian Rolston and defenseman Mike Mottau, as well as acquiring defenseman Greg Zanon from Minnesota.
According to TSN, the Bruins sent AHL defenseman Marc Cantin and forward Yannick Riendeau to the Islanders in exchange for Rolston and Mottau. Defenseman Steve Kampfer was traded to the Wild for Zanon.
Zanon’s 212 blocked shots was second in the NHL last season. The 31-year-old has a minus-1 rating with two goals and four assists for six points this season. He has averaged 18:37 of ice time per game.
First acquired by the Bruins from the Avalanche in the Ray Bourque trade in 2000, Rolston, now 39, played five seasons in Boston, includinga 31-goal campaign in the 2001-02 season. He has also played for the Devils, Avalanche, Wild and Islanders. In 49 games this season, he has four goals and five assists for nine points.
The 33-year-old Mottau has a minus-10 rating with two points (both assists) in 29 games this season.
With the moves, the B’s also assigned Andrew Bodnarchuk, Carter Camper and Max Sauve to Providence.
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