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Aggressive Jordan Caron looks the part in season-opener 10.03.13 at 11:39 pm ET
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Jordan Caron

Jordan Caron

Jordan Caron wouldn’t have played Thursday were it not for Carl Soderberg being hurt, but the 22-year-old gave the B’s a lot to think about even if Soderberg’s ankle is feeling better for Saturday’s game.

Caron, who for the past three seasons has had more stops and starts than something that stops and starts a lot, was excellent in the Bruins’ season-opening 3-1 win over Lightning. The player known for being wise beyond his years defensively but offensively sheepish was the most aggressive he’s ever been at the NHL level, using his thick frame to battle along the wall and taking pucks to the net throughout the night. At one point, it even looked like he might’ve dropped the gloves.

Caron was skating in Soderberg’s place on the third line with Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith. Kelly turned in a standout performance of his own, winning 12 of 17 faceoffs, scoring on a shorthanded penalty shot and playing a big role on the penalty kill on a night in which the Bruins kept Steven Stamkos and friends 0-for-5 on the man advantage.

Caron’s highlight of the night came in the second period, when he hustled down the left wing entering the zone to beat a Lightning player to the puck and stormed the net, putting the puck on Anders Lindback and persistently jabbing at the rebounds until it went in. It was everything the Bruins had been wanting to see from their 2009 first-round pick for years, and it was a good moment for Caron as evidenced by his celebration. After seeing his hustle rewarded, the mild-mannered Caron authoritatively pointed at the puck in the back of the net.

“Yeah, I got pretty jacked up when I saw it go in,” Caron admitted after the game.

Then he heard the whistle. Then he saw the ref.

The goal had been waved off, as an official with a bad angle thought Lindback had stopped and covered up the puck. Caron was cost what should have been a hard-earned goal, but the good thing was that it wasn’t his only chance of the night. In the first period he blocked a clearing attempt by the Lightning and drove to the net (his shot was blocked), and he and his line had multiple other scoring chances that included a nice 3-on-2 with Kelly and Smith.

The line at the end of the night read zero goals and zero assists and a modest two-shots on goal, but Caron’s two takeaways on the night better illustrated his game. He was aggressive and he was engaged. Never the best skater, he was moving well. Late in the first period, Caron got into a bit of a shoving match with Pierre-Cedric Labrie, who has about 30 pounds on him and would fight Shawn Thornton the following shift. It was as well-rounded a game as he’d played in the NHL, and in a career that’s been littered with bright spots followed by relative darkness, Caron started off his fourth professional campaign on a very encouraging note with the net-drive the B’s had longed to see.

“I think that’s my game, bringing the puck to the net,” Caron said. “I think that’s what I did tonight.”

It remains to be seen what will happen with Soderberg, who is on injured reserve at the moment but is eligible to come off it in time for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings should he be healthy. If he’s good to go for Saturday, the B’s will have an interesting decision to make due to the performance they got out of Caron in the season-opener.

“I think right now he’s grasping the opportunity here and I thought he had a good game,” Claude Julien said. “That line was pretty good for us tonight. Kelly was arguably our best player tonight. Jordan and Smith, they really worked hard in the forecheck and made things happen so they were a good line for us tonight. Jordan, I was extremely happy with his game.”

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Bruins send Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Matt Fraser, Matt Lindblad to Providence 09.28.13 at 10:09 am ET
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The Bruins made four cuts from camp Saturday morning, with Ryan Spooner and Niklas Svedberg the two most notable. With Svedberg cut, Chad Johnson has won the backup goaltending job. Also sent to Providence were Matt Fraser and Matt Lindblad.

Prior to the announcement of the cuts, Spooner gave word of his assignment on Twitter.

Spooner impressed in camp, but with all four center positions locked up there was no feasible spot for him. He has never played wing competitively and the team is not interested in moving him from center, where his smarts and playmaking ability should make him a top-six player at the NHL level down the road.

With Spooner sent down, it would appear the team’s extra forward spot is down to Nick Johnson and Jordan Caron. Both could make the team if the B’s elect to keep 14 forwards. Since Spooner is on his entry level deal, he can be sent to Providence without being subject to waivers, whereas the B’s would risk losing Johnson or Caron to waivers by sending them down.

As for Svedberg, the Bruins were able to save $400,000 off the cap by sending him to Providence rather than Johnson. Svedberg has a $1 million NHL cap hit to Johnson’s $600,000, while Svedberg being on a two-way deal means he’ll be paid $70,000 at the AHL level. Johnson, who is a on a one-way deal, would be paid $600,000 either way.

Neither goalie was necessarily better than the other in camp, making it more sensible to keep Johnson over Svedberg.

With these moves having been made, there are two left to be made. Bobby Robins (out with a knee injury) and Kevan Miller figure to go back to Providence, while the team will also make a decision to move Johnson or Caron down (or out) or keep both.

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Takeaways from Bruins’ 3-2 win over Capitals: Power play strong again; Ryan Spooner impresses 09.23.13 at 9:55 pm ET
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Chris Kelly scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Capitals in their final home game of the preseason Monday night at TD Garden.

They’ll finish out the preseason later this week with a pair of games against the Jets before opening up the regular season at home next Thursday against the Lightning.

The Bruins iced the following lineup:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Soderberg – Kelly – Smith
Caron – Spooner – Johnson
Paille – Lindblad – Thornton

Chara – Boychuk
Bartkowski – McQuaid
Seidenber – Miller

Here are some takeaways from the game:

- The Bruins got a power-play goal with who else but Zdeno Chara in front. Chara tipped a Dennis Seidenberg shot from from the point past Braden Holtby in the second period to tie the game at one. This is the power play the Bruins used and had been working on in practice earlier in the day:

Krejci – Seidenberg
Iginla – Lucic
Chara

The B’s also got a 5-on-3 goal from Chara at the point with Seidenberg, while Jarome Iginla was up front with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the wings.

- There were quite a few fights, with Kevan Miller squaring off with Aaron Colpatti, Lucic and Johnny Boychuk dropping the gloves with Joel Rechlicz in separate fights. Additionally, Adam McQuaid and Dane Byers fought at the same time as Nick Johnson and Michal Cajkovsky in the third period.

Players can and do work on their technique in practice without having to land punches, so there isn’t much of a point in risking injury (or suspension if things get out of hand like they did in Toronto on Sunday night) during the preseason. Lots of fights = lots of unnecessary risk.

- Ryan Spooner was one of the best players on the ice for the B’s as he continues to try to force the team to make a tough decision. The team isn’t interested in making him a wing, and they probably shouldn’t be given that Reilly Smith has had a strong camp, but Spooner could at the very least push to be the team’s extra forward. At the very least, Spooner is outperforming Jordan Caron, who entered camp as a favorite to earn the 13th forward spot.

- Smith looked good in the first period and was kind of underwhelming the rest of the way. He came out flying on his first shift and made a fool out of Connor Carrick in the offensive zone as he cycled the puck to himself, and in general the former Star seems to be everything that Caron is supposed to be. He’s good in his own end and tough to out-muscle, which is strange because he’s two inches shorter and more than 35 pounds lighter than Caron. Either way, Smith plays bigger than his body and is making a good case to keep that third-line right wing job. Smith was on the ice for both of Washington’s goals, however, with the first goal coming on Smith’s first PK shift of the night.

- The Bruins allowed just seven shots on goal through the first 53-plus minutes of the game, but two of them went past Tuukka Rask. The Caps could have scored on what would have been their eighth shot following a Krejci turnover in the third period, but Miller was able to break up the 2-on-1 bid before the Caps could get a shot on goal. The B’s outshot the Capitals, 37-12, in regulation.

- Speaking of Krejci and turnovers, he made some in the offensive zone in what certainly wasn’t his prettiest game. He’s also gotten rather drop-pass happy.

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Jordan Caron aiming to earn (and keep) a spot with Bruins 09.13.13 at 9:26 am ET
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Jordan Caron is seeking job security. (AP)

Jordan Caron is seeking job security. (AP)

You can’t blame Jordan Caron for blocking out the past.

“I don’t want to talk about the last two or three years anymore,” the 22-year-old said following his first on-ice sessions in training camp. “I just want to look forward and put my foot down and not look back.”

It’s been a frustrating few years for Caron, who made the Bruins out of training camp in 2010-11 but has spent the last three seasons up and down between Boston and Providence, struggling to earn a full-time spot at the NHL level.

Last season, injuries, the lockout and the failed Chris Bourque experiment limited to Caron to just 17 games.

The Bruins traded for the former Capitals second-round pick and gave him the chance Caron thought he’d been close to earning. Caron was hurt during the lockout, so Bourque got the job when the season started and the B’s stuck with him through a woeful 18-game stint, which lasted past when Caron was ready to return in mid-February.

“It was pretty frustrating,” Caron admitted, “but it’s over now. I think we shouldn’t be talking about that anymore.”

Now on a one-year, one-way contract and with the Bruins having at least one bottom-six job available, the opportunity is there for Caron to become an NHL regular. Among the things that stand in his way are a group of other young wingers – Jared Knight, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Carter Camper among them, not to mention young center Ryan Spooner — and the fact that for a two-way player he hasn’t been much of a two-way player but rather a player who has only excelled in the defensive zone.

“He’s big, he’s strong,” Claude Julien said. “He’s got to be strong along the walls, he’s got to be sure that he gets in there quick enough on the forecheck, and then when we do get the puck in the offensive zone he should be strong along the walls, but at the same time he’s a guy that can take pucks to the net and go to the net and bring some offense to his game, as far as wanting to be on the side of scoring opportunities.

“We don’t want him to just think about not getting scored on. We want him to think about being a good two-way player, because he’s capable of doing that.”

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘are going to be a good team for a long time’ 06.25.13 at 10:05 am ET
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NESN analyst Barry Pederson, in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan show, identified a number of roster decisions that now face the Bruins following their elimination in a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks. Still, Pederson suggested that the team’s long-term outlook remains excellent.

With a number of young, still-improving talents like Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, Pederson suggested that if Boston can re-sign restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and lock up Patrice Bergeron — who now has one year left in his contract — to an extension, the team has the core to continue to build upon its run of two Stanley Cup Finals and one championship in the last three years.

He emphasized the need for players like Tyler Seguin, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron to get stronger to help carry the Bruins through a 2013-14 season that starts in 13 weeks, but overall, Pederson pointed to a sunny outlook for a team that just endured a devastating defeat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins still deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg 06.22.13 at 3:03 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

CHICAGO – Kaspars Daugavins or Carl Soderberg?

The reaction to that should be “whichever guy isn’t Carl Soderberg” given how little Soderberg has played in the NHL, but Claude Julien is making it clear — whether for gamesmanship’s sake or because he’s actually considering it — that the fourth line left wing spot is up in the air as the Bruins approach Game 5.

The options, in a nut shell: Daugavins, a defensive guy who has been pretty bad so far, from not ending Game 1 in triple overtime when he had the chance, taking a bad penalty in Game 3 then putting himself offsides on an opportunity out of the box and everything in between, or Soderberg, a star in the Swedish Elite League who has played just six NHL games and didn’t look particularly impressive. Daugavins has the experience, Soderberg has the offense and both have Julien’s consideration.

[Of course, Jordan Caron, who has experience with this team and has played more recently than Soderberg, would figure to be a better option than both, but for some reason the B's say it's down to Daugavins and Soderberg. Why Caron isn't getting consideration is rather puzzling, but oh well.]

Daugavins and Soderberg took turns skating on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Saturday’s morning skate, a day after Soderberg donned a fourth-line jersey and Daugavins wore a green (healthy scratch) jersey. Julien was noncommittal regarding who would be in the lineup in Game 5, but said it would be one of the two.

“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”

Well, he actually hasn’t been tinkering considering that Daugavins has been in the lineup the entire series, but sure. While Soderberg politely declined to talk to the media after morning skate, Daugavins said that he doesn’t know whether he’s in. He did say that it’s been an interesting series for him thus far whether or not he stays in the lineup, as he’s seen his ice time go down over the course of the series (from 15:09 to 8:28 to 6:30 to 5:57), which has meant sweating it out on the bench a lot more.

“It’s more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than being on the ice, because when you go out there, you go into game mode. You don’t even think about it. You just do it. Your instincts come into play,” he said. “When you sit on the bench and watch, you’re like a super fan. You cheer for the guys and you get nervous when the puck is close to your net, and you pull your hair when there’s a good scoring chance for somebody. It’s definitely more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than playing.”

Julien has mentioned multiple times that in today’s NHL, players communicate with the coach far more than they used to. If they’re not playing, they want to know why, and if they are playing, they want to know how they can be better. Daugavins says he hasn’t bugged Julien about his situation, just trusting that if he learns from each game, he’ll improve.

“I watch my own tape and talk to a couple guys,” he said. “It’s a learning [experience] for me, obviously my first time in the finals, so I try to make the best of it. I’ve gotten a couple of scoring chances and should have scored. Maybe in the regular season you do, but in the finals you should bear down and you’re a little nervous, but things happen. If you get another [chance], you try to put it in. You just have to watch the tape and fix it instead of being pissed about it.”

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Torey Krug’s third-period turnover ‘turning point’ in Game 1 06.13.13 at 10:19 am ET
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Torey Krug's turnover in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night led to the Blackhawks' second goal. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning, and following the Bruins’ 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, Pederson pegged defenseman Torey Krug’s third-period turnover that led to Chicago’s second goal as a turning point.

Krug’s cross-ice pass got intercepted by Andrew Shaw, who assisted Dave Bolland’s goal to cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-2 midway through the third period.

“The Bruins had complete control of this hockey game early in the third with that 3-1 lead. People I think are talking about the deflection, the bad break they got. But to me the turning point of the hockey game was the giveaway by Krug in his own end,” Pederson said. “That’s one of those plays that’s a rookie mistake under pressure. You have the near-side wall is wide open. You either have to carry it up or make that play. As we’re taught as youngsters throughout your hockey career, there’s one play you don’t make in your own end, and that’s cross ice. That to me was the one that really changed things.”

It was that turnover — and the ensuing “emotional letdown” — that did in the Bruins more than potential complacency up by two goals with about half a period to go, Pederson noted.

Despite the error, Pederson said he doesn’t think Claude Julien will bench Krug for Game 2 Saturday, nor does he think the rookie defenseman should be benched. Pederson noted that Krug’s ice time was lessened for much of the rest of the game, but he doesn’t expect that to carry over.

“I would hope not,” Pederson said, “because they really need him. He brings that element of speed and offense to the lineup, and I think he helps their power play as well.”

When the hosts expressed concern that the Bruins, particularly the older players, might be lagging come Saturday, Pederson said not to worry — the Blackhawks are in the same position, after all.

The bigger concern should be replacing Nathan Horton, if needed, after the forward left with an upper-body injury in the first overtime. Pederson suggested moving Tyler Seguin up to replace Horton on the first line, as Julien played it the rest of Game 1.

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