BostonBruins.com — Jordan Caron has already played 71 regular season NHL games (not to mention two Stanley Cup playoff games). But as the P-Bruins donned their practice gear and went through their paces on September 28, Caron looked over the RI Sports Center and pronounced himself happy to be on the ice.
"It was good," said Caron. "It felt pretty good out there.
"We had the fitness test [Friday] morning, so you feel like you’re getting maybe there. Getting a good base, and this day is over, and we’ll have a couple of scrimmages the next few days."
Beyond last weekend's intrasquad scrimmages, Providence is still practicing and preparing this week for exhibition games on Wednesday (vs. Springfield, New England Sports Center, Marlborough, MA), Thursday (vs. Bridgeport, New England Sports Center, Marlborough, MA) and Saturday (vs. Springfield, MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA).
Caron will be called upon to bring his considerable NHL experience to bear versus the Columbus Blue Jackets-staffed Falcons and the New York Islanders-laden Sound Tigers.
For his part, Caron said he's focused on the B's AHL squad, and will look to start the season in the same fashion that has earned him considerable time in the NHL.
"I just want to be a part of the team here and help out the team to win," said Caron, simply. "I think we have a good group of young guys here this year.
"I think…we’re going to be pretty good and I want to be a part of the team and contribute defensively and offensively."
With names like Bartkowski, Bourque, Camper, Cohen, Exelby, Hanson, Krug, MacDermid, Sauve and Whitfield on the roster — all players whom have seen playing time in the National Hockey League — Providence is well equipped to compete, even in an AHL that will see its fair share of major league talent skating its rinks.
However, with a talented, bolstered lineup, now boasting a heavy dose of professional experience, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy sees potential in Providence.
"Last year…we had a lot of first year guys in last year we used in our lineup," said Cassidy. "This year, you look at the guys signed — I talked about this in July [at Boston Bruins Development Camp] — we have the [Ryan] Spooner’s, the [Jared] Knight’s the [Torey] Krug’s; those are Second Round picks.
"Spooner has played games in the American League," continued Cassidy. "So has [Zach] Trotman. So has [Tommy] Cross last year. So has [Chris] Bourque.
"A lot of these first year guys had a bit of a taste of it last year so that should speed up their development, at least out of the gate."
And, of course, development is the most important item of business for any of the P-Bruins.
"We just focus on the day-to-day, focus on the task at hand," said General Manager Peter Chiarelli speaking during the first day of Providence’s training camp. "We’ve got some good young skill.
"So you want that skill to come out in a good, proper working environment."
As such, Caron said he will continue that work in earnest toward their NHL goals.
"You’ve got to play hard every night," said Caron, noting the number of familiar faces he saw in North Smithfield. "We’ve got a few years [together], and it’s always the same guys.
"It’s good," he added. "We kind of grow together and I think that’s good for the organization."