With a resolution to the NHL lockout nowhere in sight, players have had to look elsewhere to play the game they love. Many have gone overseas to play in Europe, while some with limited NHL experience have the ability to stay within their organization and play in the AHL (American Hockey League).
Because of this the AHL has become the best league in the world at the moment, thus its players reaping the benefits, particularly the Providence Bruins players as they are located so close to the Boston area. Bruins front office officials have been able to keep a close eye on their players since their home and select away games are just a short drive away.
“I think there are some pretty good leagues [in Europe], but of course it’s nice to be right near Boston and have the Boston management here and coming to watch us play,” said Providence Bruins forward Jordan Caron following a 4-3 win over the Manchester Monarchs last weekend in Manchester N.H.
Caron recorded a hat trick, including two power play goals in the first Bruins win of the season. In attendance were general manager Peter Chiarelli, assistant general manager Don Sweeney and head coach Claude Julien.
The 21-year-old has played in 71 career NHL games recording 10 goals and 12 assists. He is just happy to have somewhere to play hockey right now.
“It feels pretty good, I have a chance to play somewhere, I know a lot of the guys don’t have a chance to play anywhere right now,” Caron said. “I’m glad I get to play here and I think the league is pretty good, not that it wasn’t good before, but it’s a lot better now.”
For defenseman Torey Krug, who signed with the Bruins last March after leaving Michigan State following his junior year, he is looking to use the AHL to help him learn to play at the pro-level with his small 5-foot-8 stature.
“I’m small?,” Krug said with a chuckle. “That’s how it’s been my whole life. It’s normal for me, but being a smaller defensemen I need to make myself special. Going against bigger guys I just need to do my job and move the puck well.”
Krug also appreciates being able to play in the AHL as it’s currently considered the best league in the world.
“It’s fun because this is the best league in the world right now with all the players coming down,” he said. “You know on a nightly basis there will be a high level of hockey, so it’s been good.”
Until the lockout is over, the AHL is the next best thing for some of the Bruins players as they are able to prove themselves with all eyes in the organization on them every game.