Patriots

Caron injury opens up potential roster battle for Bruins

924319.jpg

Caron injury opens up potential roster battle for Bruins

With the NHL lockout over and a regular season for the Boston Bruins just around the corner, the chatter naturally turns to roster debates. The third line winger role was one of the few open competition spots on the Boston roster with Jordan Caron, Chris Bourque and Ryan Spooner standing as the three most likely candidates.

Whichever forward makes the Boston club will likely slot in with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly on a third line thats proven to be vital to the Bs success over the last two years.

While the 21-year-old Caron was long thought to be the favorite to claim that spot after finishing off last year with a flourish in that role, the former first round pick suffered an upper body injury on Friday night skating with the Providence Bruins. According to reports, Caron left the ice holding his left arm gingerly immediately after sustaining the injury.

P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy had indicated that Caron would be out almost three weeks, and that would keep him out of the Boston lineup for at least the first handful of games.

Caron has actually struggled a bit with eight points (6 goals, 2 assists) in 31 games along with a minus-6 rating for Providence, and those numbers look even more tepid when considering the Bruins forward collected three of those goals in one bravura performance against the Manchester Monarchs.

Meanwhile the 26-year-old Bourque, who graduates to a one-way contract with Boston in 2013-14 no matter what happens this season, has 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists) in 31 games for a Providence team that hasnt exactly been lighting it up offensively.

Every night he makes a couple of high-end plays," P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Sometimes the rest of the guys arent ready for them.

He does some high-end things that our guys are getting used to. Hell take some high-risk plays, but they work out a lot more than they dont when its him making them. Hes competitive, he cares, he battles and he wants to be out there all the time.

Clearly the history of the Bourque family in Black and Gold would make him a compelling story off the ice, but hes also consistently been Providences best player on the ice. The 20-year-old Spooner has 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games for Providence during his first full AHL season, and has shown the kind of offensive instincts and playmaking skills that were advertised as a 2010 second round draft pick.

The expectation is that a handful of players including Bourque, Spooner and perhaps Lane MacDermid and Jamie Tardif among others will be called up to Boston at the end of next week for a brief NHL training camp prior to a 48-50 game season.

May the best man or the healthiest, anyway win the spot.

Game notes: Patriots tie Browns for second-longest streak of .500-or-better seasons

cp-patriots-gronkowski-amendola-111917.jpg

Game notes: Patriots tie Browns for second-longest streak of .500-or-better seasons

Notes from the Patriots' 33-8 victory over the Raiders in Mexico City . . . 

-- New England is now 8-2 and is guaranteed to have a .500 or better record for the 17th consecutive season, tying the 1957-73 Browns for the second-longest streak in NFL history. The record is 21, held by the 1965-85 Cowboys. The Pats last had a losing season in 2000, when they were 5-11 in Bill Belichick's first season in New England.

PATRIOTS 33, RAIDERS 8

-- The Patriots have now won 13 straight road games, setting a franchise record. They remain in second place on the NFL all-time list, behind the 18 straight road games won by the 1988-90 49ers.

-- Tom Brady completed 30 of 37 passes (81.1 percent) for 339 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating. Brady has 82 career games with at least 300 passing yards and is the only player in NFL history to record a 300-yard passing game in three different countries (United States, United Kingdom and Mexico). Brady is also the first player to have a game with at least three passing touchdowns in three different countries.

-- The Pats are now 3-0 in international games, and have outscored their opponents by a combined 113-22 score in those games. 

-- Stephen Gostkowski scored 15 points on four field goals and three PATs and moved into the top 20 on the all-time NFL scoring list.

-- Gostkowski set a franchise record for longest field goal, 62 yards, in the light air of Mexico City.