Print and Go Back ESPN.com: BlogsColumns [Print without images]

Saturday, January 15, 2011
Marc Savard takes another scary hit

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The image of Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard lying on the ice, holding his head, silenced the 17,565 fans in attendance Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

With 12:50 remaining in the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Savard was on the receiving end of a clean hit by Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland. Savard's head hit the boards and he fell to the ice.

Savard remained on the ice, holding his helmet, and needed to be attended to by team trainer Don DelNegro. Savard made it to the bench on his own and then continued to play in Boston's 3-2 loss.

Even though Savard was still catching his breath after the game, the team checked him out and found that there were no issues and further testing was not needed.

After the game, Savard said he was feeling the effects of the hit.

"I'm a little dazed. I haven't got a headache or anything like that, yet," Savard said. "I'm just a little dazed after getting my bell rung a bit. I don't think it's anything to worry about right now."

Savard I'm just a little dazed after getting my bell rung a bit. I don't think it's anything to worry about right now.

-- Bruins forward Marc Savard, on hitting his head on the boards Saturday

Savard missed nearly two months last season after suffering a Grade 2 concussion when he was on the receiving end of a blindside hit by the Penguins' Matt Cooke on March 7 in Pittsburgh. Savard was able to return for the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, but during the summer he began to suffer from post-concussion syndrome. He missed the first 23 games of this season before returning Dec. 2.

It's taken Savard a while to return to form and he's been playing well the past few games. The line of Savard, Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder has been clicking of late, too, so the last thing the Bruins need is for Savard to get hurt. Savard was looking to make a pass behind him toward the slot area, where both Horton and Ryder were waiting for the puck. Engelland connected with a clean hit, and Savard's head spun around and drilled the boards.

He went down, remaining on the ice.

"A little woozy, to be honest," Savard said after the game of how he felt. "I'll see how I feel the rest of the day and tonight. I haven't seen the replay but it felt like he just got my head. I don't know, but I'm a little woozy."

Immediately following the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he hadn't had a chance to review the play but was told it was a clean hit.

"From what I'm told, there was nothing wrong with it," Julien said. "It was a clean hit and [Savard] was off-balance. He got his bell rung a little bit, but he seems to be fine."

Savard concurred.

"I felt OK," he said. "I was just a little winded. It's not bad right now. I just wanted to gather my thoughts, get the rest I needed for a minute there and everything came back together fine, so I have to monitor it for the rest of the day because I was a little shaken up."

Even though Cooke had nothing to do with the play, it's obvious he's still a wanted man in Boston. Every time he touched the puck Saturday, the fans booed him. Every time the Bruins needed a spark, it seemed Cooke was the target.

Even though Cooke believes the incident is in the past, the Bruins and Savard are not suffering from memory loss. The Bruins' Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid tried to coerce Cooke to no avail.

"He won't do a thing," Savard said of Cooke not fighting. "Johnny's tried him the last two games, numerous times, and he skates away. He'll get you from different areas, but he won't go straight on, obviously."

The first time these teams played after Savard suffered the injury last season was a home game at the Garden and Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Cooke, who obliged.

Boychuk asked Cooke to drop the gloves in the waning minutes of the first period Saturday.

"I asked him to fight and that's about it," Boychuk said. "We were down 1-0 at that point and I just wanted to get something going. I saw him, asked him to go and he said no, so that's about it."

Cooke made it a point after the game to suggest that there's no bad blood between he and Savard.

"We played a little bit tonight, but we're never really in the same area," Cooke said. "Nothing's been said. There becomes a point when things in the past are just that. I know it's something for people to talk about and something people keep bringing up. Ultimately, you can't live in the past and you have to look forward."

Boychuk wasn't the only Bruins player who attempted to get Cooke to go, as McQuaid tried earlier in the first period but Cooke wouldn't take the bait.

"I can see why he wouldn't fight [McQuaid]," Boychuk said, "because he's a good fighter."

The fact of the matter is the Bruins' focus was not retribution on Cooke. They wanted the two points and knew that was more important. They nearly pulled off another come-from-behind victory against the Penguins.

"We had a decent hockey game," Savard said. "You can't mount a comeback every night. You're not going to be the comeback kids every night. Even though we think we can, and we thought we could, it's just not going to happen every night."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.