February 7, 2012

Caron hopes to capitalize on latest chance with B's

By Jesse Connolly

WILMINGTON – When the Bruins broke camp before the 2011-12 season commenced, Jordan Caron emerged in possession of the team's 13th forward spot. Now, after an unspectacular start that saw him lose his position with the big club to Zach Hamill, who subsequently sputtered out, Caron is back for another crack at it. 

The 21-year-old winger had one of his best NHL performances of the season on Sunday, clicking with linemates David Krejci and Benoit Pouliot in a 4-1 win over the Capitals in which he had four shots on goal. He hopes the heavy ice time he received down in Providence over the last few months will pay dividends.

“I just want to play hard, play my game and keep things simple,” Caron said. “They just told me to play the same way I always did. I was just getting some playing time in a lot of games down there. I think it’s been good.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he was quite pleased with Caron’s showing following Tuesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.

“I thought he skated more with the puck and obviously had a couple of point-blank chances there,” Julien said. “He was a little bit more involved and this is what we asked him to do. He went to Providence and found that part of his game. It’s about being able to maintain it. I liked his first game and hopefully he’ll follow up with another game like that.”

As for Hamill, who cleared waivers and was returned to Providence, Julien believes he saw plenty of positives during the former eighth-overall pick’s latest stint in Boston.

“I just think he needs to get a little bit stronger,” the coach said. “He’s a guy that’s capable of making plays and he’s a smart individual. He came up and had a really strong showing. It’s about trying to maintain that level of play. Sometimes it drops off. I really liked a lot of things he did.

“He sees the ice very well and understands the system very well. The strength is something he has to keep working on and the consistency of keeping the level of play the way it was when he first came here.”

Chara gets a breather

After a busy trip to Ottawa for All-Star weekend and a stretch that saw the B’s play four times in six days, Julien decided captain Zdeno Chara needed a little extra time away from the rink.

“I gave him the day off. It’s nothing more than a simple day off,” Julien said when asked about Chara’s absence from practice on Tuesday. “He had a lot of responsibilities at the All-Star Game and didn’t get much time to himself. I think it was a good time to give him some rest.”

Horton’s status? Wait and see

Julien understand that the relentless questioning on the status of concussed forward Nathan Horton is the nature of the business, but until No. 18 makes serious progress, he’d rather not be forced to provide non-updates on a daily basis.

“I look at every team that has guys with concussions,” the Bruins bench boss said. “You’ve got to give us a chance to let him go through the things. I can’t give you an update every day. It could be long, it could be short. When you see him on the ice with us, it’s going to be a real good sign. We’ll leave it at that.”