Bruins

Caron hopes for big rookie season with Bruins

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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

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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