BostonBruins.com — Development remains the name of the game in the American Hockey League, but as the season enters December and with the Providence Bruins fighting to climb out of fifth place in the Atlantic Division (and a 7-8-1 record), the P-Bruins will have to rely on veterans like Jordan Caron to remind teammates what exactly is at stake each time they hit the ice.
"I think we have bad games, and we have good games, and I think we need to add more consistency to our game," said Caron after practice on Wednesday. "I think when we do that we’re going to be a much better team.
"We have pretty good chemistry," added the forward. "Guys come to the rink and have fun, and I think that’s really important early on in the season."
But Caron and the P-B's know that success is important, too.
A winning environment was the mandate from the Bruins brass as Providence began the campaign, and thanks to his extensive experience in Boston, nobody in Rhode Island knows better than Caron (who was one of the B's "Black Aces" during the 2011 Stanley Cup run) what it means to wear Black & Gold.
"We have everything we need to be a good team," said Caron of the AHL Bruins. "We just need to put it together and win some games."
Through 16 games, Caron himself has put up a 4-2-6 line, thanks in large part to a hat trick versus Manchester October 19.
But Caron knows that for his P-Bruins to be successful, he'll be counted on to provide more as some teammates heal and others catch up in professional experience.
"For my part, I thought I had a pretty good start the first 10 games maybe, and then I’ve had some trouble scoring goals," he said. "The chances are there, so I think that’s a good sign.
"I’ve just got to keep shooting the puck, and going to the net, and doing simple stuff, and it’s going to go in pretty soon I’m sure."
As a former NHL and AHL player, Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney understands what Caron is experiencing.
"Jordan obviously is putting added pressure on himself," said Sweeney. "He realizes he’s spent a lot of time in the National Hockey League, there’s a lot of players in the American League currently that have played there like he has, and I think he’s put added pressure on himself to try and produce. It’s not an easy league to do that.
"He’s had some really, really good nights. He’s had some nights where he’s had a lot of chances and hasn’t scored. His finishing ability is something that he’s going to try to continue to improve upon. Getting to those spots, and getting chances is half the battle, but being able to bear down and finding a way to score goals is the next step for Jordan to take.
"When he’s moving his feet and playing that power forward game, being real heavy around the front of the net and getting to loose pucks, I think he’s at his best," he said.
In the meantime, Caron remains patient and has put emphasis on being reliable in any situation.
"Obviously, I’m trying every night to do something to help my team," said Caron. "Right now, I’m having trouble scoring goals, [so] I’m just trying to be good on the forecheck, and be good defensively, and do the little things to help the team win.
"I want to produce offensively, that’s why I’m here and that’s what I want to do."