BOSTON — Suddenly, the ice looked awfully crowded to Jordan Caron, but the young Bruins forward didn't mind a bit.
Caron has spent the past two months skating with the "Black Aces," the handful of spare players brought up to join the team for the playoffs to give the club some extra bodies when needed. Caron and his fellow scratches usually practice on their own, before or after the main roster, giving them plenty of space on the ice.
But Wednesday morning, Caron got the call to come join the main crowd, skating with the varsity at the club's morning skate at the Garden. He will also join the team on the ice for the pre-game warm-up prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver.
"I've been with the Black Aces the last couple months, skating with 5-6 guys on the ice, it's a little different," Caron said. "But now to be with the team and practice with them, it was great.
"The coaches and players have been great with us," added Caron, Boston's first-round pick in 2009. "We have the chance to travel with the team. Just to be with the team and in the room with them, it's the Stanley Cup Finals, so it's a lot of fun."
Barring a last-minute injury or illness to another forward, Caron will not play in Game 4. But for now he's more than happy just to have a chance to be a part of the main team, have a stall in the main locker room and get a chance to skate in front of the Garden crowd for warm-ups.
"It's going to be great," Caron said. "It's the Stanley Cup Final. It doesn't get any better than that. If I'm in the warm-up, it will be a great experience."
Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed that Caron will be in the warm-up on Wednesday. Julien has used the pre-game skate as a way to get his younger players acclimated to the postseason atmosphere to be better prepared to play if needed.
Tyler Seguin skated in every warm-up for the first two rounds before being inserted into the lineup in the conference final, and rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer has skated in warm-ups the last two rounds since recovering from a knee injury suffered late in the regular season while on assignment to Providence.
"He's going to do the warm-up tonight," Julien said of Caron. "You never know what can happen over the course of a day. A player can get sick. Something can happen. We are playing it safe. We put 23 guys out there. Obviously we make those decisions after warm-up as long as everybody is ready to go. I think people have a pretty good idea that Tyler will be back in the lineup. If you didn't, you know now.
"Jordan has an opportunity to live that same experience that we've been giving him," Julien added. "And Kampfer, a young player that we feel is a big part of our organization. Besides the game, you look at ways to help your young players grow. I think that's one of the ways, as well."
Caron has already learned a lot by being around the team for its playoff run, enough to know he wants to play a more integral role in the next one.
"By watching the games I can see how different it is from the regular season," said Caron, who had 3-4-7 totals in 23 games with Boston and 12-16-28 totals in 47 games with Providence during the regular season. "The pace is so high. I'm going to go into this summer wanting to make the team and stay here for the whole season and hopefully get back in the Final next year."