WILMINGTON, Mass. — Jordan Caron has had the best view in the house for the last two Bruins games. But the rookie winger would gladly trade in his lofty vantage point for another close-up on the ice.
Caron has been a healthy scratch the last two games as the Bruins finally have nearly their entire lineup available with the return of Marc Savard from post-concussion syndrome. That has left Caron in an unfamiliar position, as he’s become a healthy scratch for the first time since he was a 15-year-old in his first junior season with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“It’s much different watching upstairs from playing,” said Caron. “It looks much easier from up top than when you’re on the ice. It’s good for me to see the game from a different angle, but of course I want to be on the ice and trying to help the team win games. So hopefully I’ll be back on as soon as possible.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien stated recently that he does plan to work Caron back into the lineup soon. In the meantime, Julien still feels there’s plenty the rookie can learn even while he’s not playing.
“You see the game from a different angle from up top, and that’s another way of gaining some experience,” said Julien. “You’re looking at veteran players and how they react, and it just helps them sort things out a little better.
“Instead of just saying they’re a healthy scratch, being a healthy scratch is an opportunity for them to see the game from a different angle and maybe make them understand it a little better,” added Julien. “Sometimes you see players hesitate a little bit in their decision-making and they’re not quite sure, but when you see it from up top and see what’s happening, you know that next time you’re on the ice you’ll be able to react better.”
Caron is taking advantage of the opportunity to look at the game from on high, and he’s been surprised with some of what he’s seen.
“I think sometimes upstairs you can see how much time the guys have,” said Caron. “Compared to when you’re on the ice [when] it seems to go much faster. I think sometimes you have more time than you think you have, so when I play again I’m going to try to take my time with puck a little more.”
It’s a little different than the last time he found himself watching instead of playing.
“It happened once. I was 15 years old,” said Caron of his only healthy scratch in junior. “It was one of the first games of the season and they just wanted to give me a rest because we had three games in three nights. It was the first and last time I’ve been a healthy scratch.”
Caron was also scratched for the season opener in Prague and missed two games with the flu, but otherwise has been a mainstay in the Bruins’ lineup. And Caron wasn’t playing poorly while in there. He was simply a victim of the numbers game, a reality he knew was possible as soon as he made the team out of camp.
“I knew by making the team that we have so many good players and so many guys that can play offensively,” said Caron. “It’s a very deep lineup, so I was expecting at the start of the season that this could happen. Now I’m in this situation so I just want to learn from it and keep working hard in practice.”
Practices are now Caron’s games, his best chance to show the coaching staff that he deserves another opportunity to get in the lineup. He’s continued to work hard in practice, skating Monday with fellow scratch Daniel Paille and injured winger Marco Sturm.
But Caron has also proven he can contribute in real games as well. He has 3-4-7 totals and is a plus-4 in 20 games in his first professional season.
“I’m still young and still improving,” said Caron. “It’s just something that comes along with being a rookie and trying to make a name for yourself in the league. I’ve just got to keep working hard to get back in the lineup.”
Caron, who turned 20 on Nov. 2, is eligible to be assigned to Providence, and that could be a possibility. His development would probably be better served logging big minutes in the AHL rather than sitting in the press box in the NHL, but he’s not ready to book a bus trip down to Providence just yet.
“I’m not going to be the one that’s going to be making that decision,” said Caron. “For sure I want to be on the ice playing games, but I’m not going to be the one making that decision. I’m happy being here and practicing with the guys. I just want to stay positive and hopefully get my shot.”