Bruins: Marc Savard

Still suffering from post-concussion syndrome, Bruins center Marc Savard may not play in the 2011-12 season and there is a chance he may never play in the NHL again. But based on what general manager Peter Chiarelli pointed out to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe over the weekend, that doesn’t mean Savard will retire.

“If Savvy retires, he would not be entitled to the benefits of the contract,’’ Chiarelli told Shinzawa.

That means if Savard retired, he would be relinquishing the $21.05 million still owed to him in the six years remaining on his contract. So rather than retiring, it is very likely that Savard will report to Boston in September and be placed on long-term injury reserve. If that happens, Savard will still get his money for this season and the Bruins will be allowed to spend $4.007 million (Savard’s annual cap hit) over the salary cap.

As Shinzawa pointed out, under the current CBA, which expires in September 2012, Savard and the Bruins could continue that arrangement for the remainder of Savard's contract.

Savard still having post-concussion issues

August, 1, 2011
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Bruins center Marc Savard, who played only 25 regular-season games after suffering his second major concussion in less than a year, is still suffering the effects of post-concussion syndrome, he told TSN on Monday.

"It's obviously been a long road for me. I'm still suffering with a lot of daily issues. Right now it's been a tough go,” Savard said. “I'm just trying to get through and not worry about hockey right now, just worry about my health because I have three young kids and they're important to me.

"Mornings have been tough. When I get up in the morning I'm a little foggy sometimes. But as the day wears on, I'm pretty good. Hot sun is tough; I try to stay in the shade and stuff like that and pop the odd Advil and it seems to be OK."

In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli didn’t seem confident that Savard would play this season, and it is likely Savard will start the season on injured reserve.

“As a layperson, I’d be very surprised if Marc will be playing this coming year,” Chiarelli told the Globe over the weekend.

Savard had his day with the Stanley Cup on Monday in Peterborough, Ontario, as he took Lord Stanley to a local golf course. He said he was privileged to spend a day with the Cup and was honored that Chiarelli and his teammates did their best to make him feel part of the team through their playoff run.

"Unfortunately I didn't get to play much, obviously, in the playoffs, but it's been a great ride,” Savard told TSN. “GM Peter Chiarelli has done a great job in bringing in a lot of great people and players and it's added up to [the Stanley Cup]. The boys battled hard, and it's tough to watch at times, that's for sure, but I'm excited and I'm glad because the guys still made me feel part of it.

"At the end of the year, it was a pretty emotional time. Peter told me that they are doing a petition to put [my name] on the Cup. That's special. That's how good of a man he's been and that's why he's gotten to where he is. He deserves everything he's had. Hopefully I get on it."

Rask (meniscus), Lucic (nose) have surgeries

July, 5, 2011
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BOSTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Milan Lucic and Tuukka Rask underwent successful surgeries, Rask for arthroscopic surgery on his meniscus and Lucic to clean up cartilage in his nose. Chirarelli didn’t have the exact dates for the procedures, but said that the “normal rate of recovery will apply”.

Asked about the next check-in date with Marc Savard, who missed most of the season with post-concussion symptoms, Chiarelli said there’s no date set.

“I touch base with him once a month,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve probably got a couple of weeks until I talk to him again.”

Chiarelli: No update on Savard

June, 30, 2011
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In a conference call with the media Thursday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli couldn’t offer any update on the status of center Marc Savard, who is still suffering from post-concussion symptoms.

“I would think at some point I will but I would say it would be status quo based on the things that I know right now,” Chiarelli answered when asked if he had any “clarity” on Savard’s situation. “In all likelihood it will remain to be status quo, but things happen and we may continue to seek plans there.”

Savard suffered his second concussion within a calendar year on January 22 against Colorado, forcing him to shut down his 2010-11 season in early February after playing just 25 games. He was also unable to fly to Vancouver for the Bruins’ Stanley Cup clincher in Game 7 of the finals due to his symptoms. He did however come to Boston for the Stanley Cup parade.

Savard keeping tabs on teammates

June, 4, 2011
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Boston Bruins injured forward Marc Savard (concussion) has been keeping close tabs on his teammates as they attempt to beat the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals.

He remains at home in Ontario, but he could be making a return trip to Boston when this series shifts to the Garden for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.

“He’s certainly watching us play,” Julien said. “It was nice to see him in Boston a few weeks ago, and he brought his kids along. It was good for him and it was also good for his teammates to see him. He’s slowly getting better, but he still has a long way to go.”

Savard was placed on long-term injury reserve last February after suffering his second concussion in less than a year. He returned home and came back to Boston to visit with his teammates prior to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Marc is certainly watching closely and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Boston. Maybe I’ll put a little pressure on him to get back there,” added Julien. “He’s in our thoughts. What he’s going through is not an easy thing. We also realize, on our end of it, how good of a player he was when he was at his best. Our power play was always very good when he was on it. When you lose a player like that you certainly miss him, but we’ve done our best to fill the gaps. It’s gotten us here and now it’s up to us to finish the job.”

Power play still searching

May, 1, 2011
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PHILADELPHIA -- Prior to Game 1 of his team's Eastern Conference semifinal series, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said he had no comment when asked about the B's struggling power play.

The coach said he only wanted to talk about positive aspects of Boston’s game.

Well, the Bruins went 0-for-5 on the power play against the Flyers (though they won 7-3) and are now 0-for-26 in the Stanley Cup playoffs in that category.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said after Sunday’s practice that he saw some improvements on the power play, but Julien was a little less positive when asked about it.

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesZdeno Chara said he saw some improvements in the Bruins' power play on Saturday, but the results still aren't there.
“No results,” Julien said. “I thought there were a few things that were better and hopefully it continues. We need it going and I know right now, when your power play isn’t going, your PK has to be really good and it has been.”

Julien said his power-play units are tense and the players aren’t making the right choices with the puck.

“You hope it’s going to come and I have a feeling it will. Hopefully sooner than later,” Julien said.

No doubt the power play has become a sore subject in the Bruins’ room.

“We’re trying,” Chara said. “We’re trying to get better and we’re still working on it.”

A major reason the Bruins’ power play has been suspect for the majority of the season is the absence of forward and top playmaker Marc Savard. He missed the first 23 games of the season because of post-concussion syndrome and has been out since suffering his second head injury in late January.

Without Savard's presence on the power play, the Bruins haven’t been able to adjust. Julien said he’s been texting with Savard both on a personal and professional level as the injured player is back home in Ontario.

Julien joked that he had been waiting for Savard to offer his two cents about the power play, and once the coach asked, it was all over.

“As soon as I opened that door, he took advantage of it,” Julien said with a laugh. “I’ve gotten a few tips from him.”

Savard has 80 career goals on the power play, including 29 with the Bruins.

“Marc Savard was a real big asset for us in that area. He was a guy who did such a good job on the power play and we definitely miss him there," Julien said. "That’s not a big secret. The way he was just poised and moved the puck, and he certainly created some awareness for the other team because they knew how dangerous he was.

“We lost that part when we lost Marc Savard. It’s not a part that's easily replaceable, and somehow we’ve got to find a way to improve our power play without Marc Savard. It’s been a challenge.”

Since suffering a severe concussion in March 2010, Savard has never been the same. Even when he returned to the lineup in December of this season, he seemed a step behind and did not produce a power-play goal.

“I still remember the first few years I had him, you couldn’t have asked for a better power play guy,” Julien said. “When you lose a guy like that, you’re losing a real good player and a real big piece of your power play.”

B's keep Savard in their thoughts

April, 14, 2011
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While Marc Savard won't be participating in the Bruins-Habs Eastern Conference quarterfinals series that starts tonight at TD Garden, Bruins head coach Claude Julien made it clear that Savard is in the minds and hearts of his teammates and coach as they embark on what they hope to be a successful run in the playoffs.

Savard called it a season on Feb. 7 after suffering his second concussion within a year and headed home to Ontario to rest and recover. As of last month, he was still reportedly experiencing memory loss.

“I’ve kept in contact with Savvy every week or so,” Julien said Thursday. “We communicate, and things haven’t changed in his case, and it’s unfortunate for him. I’m sure he’s going to be sitting at home and watching these games and wishing he could be part of it because as a player that part of you will never leave. And this is the most exciting time of the year, and I know he loved the times that he was in the playoffs. And he was obviously a pretty important part of the success of our hockey club, so will we miss his play? Absolutely. You don’t lose an elite player like him and not feel it.”

Savard had 10 points in 25 games this season. His last game was on Jan. 22 at Colorado when he took a hit from Avalanche defenseman and former teammate Matt Hunwick and suffered the latest concussion.

Bruins support NHL decision on Matt Cooke

March, 22, 2011
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BOSTON – Several members of the Bruins organization said they believe the NHL made the right decision by suspending the Penguins’ Matt Cooke for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season as a repeat offender of the head-shot rule.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who recently served a two-game suspension for an elbow to the head of the Blue Jackets’ R.J. Umberger, spoke his mind Monday morning prior to the league’s decision later that day, saying Cooke should serve a lengthy suspension.

Following the Bruins’ optional morning skate on Tuesday, Marchand said the league did the right thing.

“The league is trying to make an example of anyone making head shots right now,” Marchand said. “There are a few suspensions going on right now and [Cooke] was an opportunity to set in place what they’re trying to do, and they did it. That’s a big suspension, a tough one, and I think it’s going to make anyone think twice about making head shots now.”

Cooke had an in-person disciplinary hearing with the league Monday afternoon in Toronto for his elbow to the head of the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh during Sunday’s game.

Of course, the Bruins and Cooke will forever be linked to head injuries because of the blindsided hit he landed on Marc Savard on March 7, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Savard missed two months with a severe concussion and suffered post-concussion syndrome last summer.

Cooke was not suspended for his hit on Savard and has been a repeat offender since that incident.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara addressed the Cooke situation briefly. “I think after the GM meetings they agreed on being more serious about consequences and they showed that,” he said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he would rather focus on his own team at this point, but that he believes the NHL acted accordingly.

“I’m not sitting here and commenting on other suspensions. I respect what the league is doing and that’s my answer to that. You kind of take care of your backyard and let the media handle those things."

Bruins mum on Cooke suspension

February, 9, 2011
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BOSTON -- Bruins forward Daniel Paille has three games remaining on his four-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Dallas Stars’ Raymond Sawada on Feb. 3 at TD Garden.

According to the league, Paille violated Rule 48 for a blindside hit to the head where Sawada suffered a broken nose and injured shoulder.

Following Wednesday’s morning skate, Paille was asked if he saw the Penguins’ Matt Cooke drill Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin from behind during a game Tuesday night. Paille said he was watching and saw the highlights, too.

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBruin is reporting Cooke has received a four-game suspension.

“In that sort of case, [Tyutin’s] back is turned the whole way, so you have to be aware of that,” Paille said. “I don’t think Tyutin left the game, he felt all right so obviously that plays a factor. It happens in the game more often than not. I think guys tend to do that, but I don’t think they hit as hard as Cooke did yesterday.”

Tyutin was able to remain in the game. Sawada did not return to the game after Paille’s hit.

The Bruins know all too well the type of player Cooke is. He landed a blindside hit on the Bruins’ Marc Savard on March 7, leaving the Boston forward with a Grade 2 concussion. Savard suffered his second head injury in a 10-month period on Jan. 22 and the team decided to shut him down for the remainder of the year.

“[Cooke] is the type of player who needs to play with energy,” Paille said. “Maybe, at that point, he needed to spark his team. I don’t know if he’s going to change his style.”

Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton was also asked if he saw Cooke’s hit on Tyutin.

“I did not. Nor do I give a [expletive],” Thornton said. “Whatever, man. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my team.”

Last Sunday, Cooke made knee-on-knee contact with the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and was given only a two-minute penalty for tripping. Thornton said he did not see Cooke’s hit on one of the league’s top stars.

“I didn’t see that either,” Thornton said. “You’re talking to the wrong guy. I don’t watch too much hockey or highlights.

“Honestly, I don’t have a comment about that guy. I said enough about him last year. His incidents haven’t been against us this year, and I don’t watch, so I can’t give you an honest opinion either way.”

In the first meeting between the Bruins and Penguins last season following the Savard hit, Thornton dropped the gloves with Cooke at the Garden.

Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron, who has suffered a pair of severe concussions, has been outspoken on the subject. He also stayed away from talking about Cooke when asked.

“I didn’t see it, but obviously it’s happened quite a few times now [with Cooke], so we’ll see,” Bergeron said.

Bruins back Savvy, discuss challenge ahead

February, 8, 2011
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Less than 24 hours after the Boston Bruins officially placed centerman Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve due to his second concussion in a 10-month period, his teammates realize they’ll have to move on without his playmaking abilities.

The Bruins did not practice on Monday but were in attendance for Savard’s press conference at TD Garden. The team was back on the ice Tuesday morning in preparation for its game against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night in Boston.

“He’s been a big part of this team,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “He’s obviously a creative guy who knows how to produce and has shown he can produce and that’s what we’re going to miss the most. Saying that, we’ve also played a lot of games this year without him and we’ve been able to do well without him.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge," Lucic continued. "It should motivate some guys to take more of a role themselves to step up their game. We need that from everyone. Every night we play we’re going to need all 20 guys.”

The Bruins have proven they can be successful without Savard’s services and they’ll have to do that again.

“We have to hold strong,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We can’t replace him, but everybody needs to step their game up and compensate for what we lost. You can’t replace him. He’s a great player and a great teammate.”

Goaltender Tim Thomas, who has been a major cog for the Bruins this season, has learned more about concussions over the last few seasons because his teammates and close friends have been affected significantly by head injuries. He said that while he would like to have Savard in the lineup, his teammate’s quality of life is first and foremost.

“We’re talking about his brain. We’re not talking about playing through a knee injury that might make it so you’re uncomfortable walking around the rest of your life,” Thomas said. “We’re talking about the ability to think, the ability to feel normal.

“It affects your whole life. It affects your feelings, your moods, your thought processes and your ability to remember things. He’s had a hard year and I just hope he gets over all the concussion symptoms. I don’t care about hockey at this point, I hope for him as a person he can start to feel normal again.”

Without Savard in the lineup, the Bruins will rely heavily on the play of David Krejci. The crafty centerman has been streaky this season, but now he’ll need to find that consistency and sustain it for the remainder of the season.

“He has shown that in the past and he’s done it numerous times in the past, whether it was his first year when Bergeron went down (2007-2008), or when Savard went down [last season],” explained Julien. “He’s become a very good player and he thrives on being relied upon and he likes those kinds of challenges. I would like to think it’ll happen again.”

The Bruins have been in this situation before, so they know what it’ll take to remain atop the Northeast Division for the remainder of the season in hopes of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If they do accomplish that goal, it’ll be without Savard.

“We’ve dealt with adversity before,” Lucic said. “Going through these speed bumps and adversities will only make you stronger as a team if you’re able to overcome that. Hopefully it will make us stronger as a team and help us reach our goal.”

B's should target puck-moving defenseman

February, 7, 2011
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BOSTON -- With the Bruins placing Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve Monday because of his second concussion in less than a year, they obviously have lost some serious talent. But they've gained some salary cap flexibility as the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline approaches.

According to capgeek.com, with Savard’s $4 million cap hit off the books for the remainder of the season, the Bruins have $4 million in cap space available. On Monday, during the news conference to announce that Savard’s season was done, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that he plans to use that cap space and be active at the deadline.

“We're obviously going to have some flexibility now with replacement players, so in the next few weeks prior to the trade deadline, we'll be busy,” Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli has said more than once that in looking for reinforcements, he would target a defenseman and scoring depth up front. In terms of offense, Chiarelli won't necessarily add a center. While admitting there is a “gap” at center with Savard out, he pointed out Monday that his team has been built up the middle and has at least six possible centers on the roster in Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler and Zach Hamill.

"We built the team down the middle, or straight down the middle with our centermen, and obviously there will be a gap now," Chiarelli said. "So we're going to have to look to fill that gap. We're not going to be able to replace Marc. So we're going to have to be a little more diligent seeing what's out there.”

[+] EnlargeTomas Kaberle
Geoff Burke/US PresswireToronto's Tomas Kaberle has attracted the eye of Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli in the past.
That diligence needn't focus on filling the gap in the middle. Instead, Chiarelli should seek the kind of player he has coveted since arriving in Boston, a bonafide puck-moving defenseman and then a forward (wing or center) to add veteran scoring depth.

As the Bruins prepare to face division rival Montreal on Wednesday, they sit atop the Northeast Division, two points ahead of the Canadiens, and are third in the Eastern Conference with 67 points. Considering they have done that with Savard in the lineup for only 25 games, a top-six center isn’t their primary need. This team needs a defenseman who can move the puck, anchor the power play and let Zdeno Chara be what he is, a shutdown defender.

Numerous defensemen are being linked to the Bruins as possible trade targets. ESPN.com hockey insider Pierre Lebrun mentioned the Bruins as possible suitors for Maple Leafs blue liner Tomas Kaberle and Senators rear guard Chris Phillips. The Bruins have enough defensemen like Phillips, so he should be a last resort.

But Kaberle should be a primary target, as he was for Chiarelli at the 2009 draft when the Bruins general manager reportedly had a deal in place that would’ve sent then-Bruins sniper Phil Kessel and draft picks to Toronto for Kaberle and picks. The deal apparently fell apart at the last minute, but if Leafs general manager Brian Burke is still willing to deal with Chiarelli after months of being criticized over the trade that eventually landed him Kessel for a 2010 first-round pick -- which turned out to No. 2 overall -- a 2010 second-round pick and a first-round pick in 2011, then the Bruins GM needs to do his best to acquire Kaberle, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

It should be noted that Kaberle has a no-trade clause and can submit a list of 10 teams he’d be willing to go to. According to a league source, as of Monday Kaberle had not submitted any such list and wasn’t planning on doing so. However, the source did say that there are teams Kaberle would be willing to waive the no-trade clause for. The source would not reveal those teams, but if the Bruins are one of them, Chiarelli needs to take that second shot.

Should a second attempt at Kaberle not work, Chiarelli may want to take a look at 20-year-old defenseman Zach Bogosian of the Thrashers. Bogosian, who was drafted third overall in 2008, has struggled this season with only nine points in 45 games and is a plus-15. He is a restricted free agent this summer and with the ownership problems in Atlanta, the team may be looking to shed money.

But since Bogosian is only 20 and his potential is high, the Bruins would need to pay a high price. The good thing is, the Bruins have what plenty of teams want, young prospects, draft picks and even a young NHL player like Blake Wheeler. With some cap maneuvering over the summer, the Bruins could re-sign Bogosian and he could turn out to be a better long-term option than the 32-year-old Kaberle.

If Chiarelli decides to make a defenseman his main objective, chances are that he will add only a depth forward as opposed to star forward. The Flames' Jarome Iginla and the Stars' Brad Richards could be available, but with both teams in playoff contention, don’t get your hopes up.

Since the options up front figure to be limited to added depth, Chiarelli needs to focus on that puck-moving defenseman. With those pieces on board, the Bruins will have a balanced lineup, their power play would improve and they would be a legit Stanley Cup contender.

Losing Savard hurts, but the cap space his loss has created may be enough to make up for the loss and more.

Bruins place Savard on injured reserve

February, 7, 2011
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Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard made it official today, saying he would miss the rest of the season and playoffs due to ongoing problems stemming from concussions. The Bruins will place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Just over two weeks since his latest concussion, Savard said Monday he was still experiencing post-concussion symptoms, including headaches. He missed the first 23 games of the season due to post-concussion symptoms stemming from a concussion he suffered last March 7 on a blindside hit from Matt Cooke.

As for his hockey future going forward, the 33-year-old Savard said he wasn’t ready to start think about the possibility of retiring.

"I'm not going to make any decision about my future until I get more medical stuff done,” Savard said. “I need to be patient."

More to come ...

Source: Savard done for season

February, 6, 2011
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Boston Bruins center Marc Savard will be shut down for the remainder of the 2010-11 season because of ongoing problems with concussions, according to a team source. An official announcement is expected from the team on Monday.

General manager Peter Chiarelli declined to comment on Savard's status on Sunday, but early last week Chiarelli admitted to ESPNBoston.com that there was a "strong possibility" Savard's season was over.

Earlier Sunday, at the conclusion of the Bruins' practice, coach Claude Julien said there was no update on Savard.

Savard, along with his agent, Larry Kelly, met with Chiarelli this weekend after undergoing further tests.

Savard suffered his most recent concussion on Jan. 22 against the Avalanche in Colorado when his head hit the bottom of the glass after a clean hit by former teammate Matt Hunwick. In fact, it was the second such hit he suffered in a week's time after he was hit by Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland early in the third period on Jan. 15 at TD Garden.

Prior to last weekend's All-Star break, the team decided to send him home to rest before bringing him back to Boston this week.

Savard is expected to be placed on long-term injured reserve, which would clear cap room in order for Chiarelli to acquire another impact player via trade if the GM believes the team needs it.

For more, click here.

Julien: No update on Savard's status

February, 6, 2011
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Coach Claude Julien told the media following Bruins practice on Sunday that there were no updates on center Marc Savard, who -- along with his agent, Larry Kelly -- met with general manager Peter Chiarelli this weekend after undergoing further tests to determine whether his latest concussion would keep him out for the rest of the season.

Asked if there was anything new of Savard's status, Julien gave an emphatic "nope."

Savard suffered his second concussion in about 10 months when he was hit by former teammate and current Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22 at Colorado. Savard has missed the last five games and recently returned to Boston after taking some time to rest in his native Ontario.

No updates on Savard's status

February, 4, 2011
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Wilmington, Mass. -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media Friday about injured center Marc Savard, who has been out since suffering a concussion January 22. Chiarelli had no real update on Savard, except to say that the center is in “OK” spirits yet is still suffering from vertigo and headaches every day.

“I won’t have anything for you in the next day or two. I’m meeting with Marc and his agent over the weekend and I would think in the next week or so we’ll have something more on him,” Chiarelli said.

If the Bruins decide to put Savard on long-term injury reserve for the remainder of the season, his salary cap hit would be freed up, Chiarelli discussed what he could try and do with that money by the February 28 NHL trade deadline. He also reiterated that a player of Savard’s caliber won’t be available.

“I’d like to try and get a defenseman that could help our group,” he said. “I think our defense has played very well. But to try to ease some of the minutes off of our players. And, of course, without Marc -- again I’m not going to replace him exactly, that player is not available -- but you can replace bits and pieces of it and hope that some of that stuff falls into place.”

According to Chiarelli, it’s a matter of supply and demand right now. With fewer sellers in the tight Western Conference, where his normal trading partners would be, it is harder to find the right fits.

“Right now, everything is very, very tight,” said Chiarelli. “You hear that from me every year a month before the deadline and it’s even more true now. The standings are tight. Usually your trading partners are in the West. It’s very, very tight.”

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