- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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It’s been quite the whirlwind for Marc Savard since returning to the lineup last Thursday after missing the first 25 games of the season for the Bruins with post-concussion syndrome. On Thursday, the Bruins faithful gave Savard a standing ovation when he stepped on the ice for the first time in his team’s 8-1 rout of the Lightning and then Saturday, Savard was in Toronto not only playing the Maple Leafs but also catching up with family and friends for the first time since the season started.
Savard couldn’t have been happier with the response he got from the fans Thursday and then catching up with his family and friends on Saturday, including being able to attend his son’s hockey game. Now the star center is focused on getting his game back to normal and helping the Bruins earn some crucial points on their upcoming three-game home stand.
“It’s been a fabulous couple days for me, that’s for sure. Right from Thursday on, it’s been great,” said. “I’m excited to get back out in front of the home crowd again and hopefully contribute. That’s what I want to do. I’m feeling slowly better each day. I didn’t have as good a game in Toronto as I did at home I felt because I wasn’t skating as much. But I think it’s going to come.”
While he wasn’t making excuses by any means, Savard acknowledged that he definitely got caught up in the emotions of his return and that played a role in his on-ice performance.
“I think at the end of the day you know that you’ve burned a lot of energy because you’re excited all day,” Savard said describing why he was maybe a little off on the ice Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.
“Obviously I have a lot of family and friends there, I was doing lots of interviews that afternoon and just everything surrounding being there maybe -- not that it was bad -- but it may have drained me. But that’s part of getting back to normal because obviously I’m used to that and have been through it before but maybe by the time the game rolled around. I don’t know, maybe I’m drained emotionally there. Then physically, with really six months off, things are going to go slower than maybe I’d like so it’s taking a little time to get used to and as long as I keep my feet moving and my head in it, I’ll be good.”
Savard has made a concerted effort to get up to speed on the physical part of the game and he has been throwing the body around a little more than maybe he or others are used to seeing him do. The hope is that not only will hitting and getting hit test his post-concussion syndrome symptoms but it will also get his whole game moving in the right direction.
“I’m just trying to get bumped around and get into it, nothing different -- I know I don’t hit a lot so it seems different -- but just taking hits, giving hits and I’m looking forward to contributing and getting in the flow of things,” Savard said. “It takes a bit of time, but my hands are there and I’ll just keep my feet moving and be fine.”
In his first two games back, Savard has been playing with rookie Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder on his wings. Savard immediately noticed Seguin’s blazing speed but he wants to get to the point where he is able to utilize Seguin’s speed and skill. Right now he feels he and the line as a whole aren’t there yet.
“He brings a lot of speed and like I said, I haven’t been up to my best here so when I do, then we’ll start doing some things here and get her going,” Savard said of the early chemistry between him and the Bruins rookie he compared to his old linemate and now Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel. “We’re trying to focus on playing in the other zone. I think that we’ve been in our zone a little too much. So I’m trying to stay a little lower and get out of our zone and then worry about the rest.”
According to Savard, there was a real chance that he may have been Kessel’s teammate again this season. On Saturday afternoon Savard did an interview with Elliotte Friedman of CBC for the Hockey Night In Canada pregame show “Inside Hockey” that Friedman hosts and that aired Saturday night. In the interview Friedman asked Savard about the constant trade rumors that surrounded the Bruins pivot over the past summer and Savard did confirm that he was willing and ready to waive his no-trade clause to go to Toronto and Ottawa. On Monday, Savard elaborated on the situation that he claimed arose during the 2010 NHL Draft in June when the Bruins drafted Seguin second overall. He reiterated that he is happy to still be a Bruin.
“It was more to the rumors and stuff and then [rumors] being on TV the day of the draft and hearing all kinds of things, and then Peter [Chiarelli] just reassured me after the draft was over that ‘you know what? You’re going to be a Boston Bruin and I want you to be a Boston Bruin and that’s the way it is’” Savard recalled. “So that’s the way it worked out and I’m happy to be here obviously and that’s why I signed here for seven years, to stay here. I’m comfortable here, I like the fans and I’m just happy to be here.
“At the end of the day if that’s the way it worked out and those are two of the teams that I’d obviously consider and I had considered,” Savard acknowledged again. “So yeah, it’s no secret but like I said, Peter called me to reassure me this is where I’m staying and I’m happy to be here.”
It’s been quite the whirlwind for Marc Savard since returning to the lineup last Thursday after missing the first 25 games of the season for the Bruins with post-concussion syndrome.