Savard not ready for training camp

The Boston Bruins Marc Savard celebrates scoring in the first overtime period of Game 3 of their...

The Boston Bruins Marc Savard celebrates scoring in the first overtime period of Game 3 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Boston, Massachusetts April 13, 2008. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

BOSTON -- There was a time this summer when Marc Savard probably wondered if a reunion with former Boston Bruins teammate Phil Kessel was just a matter of time.

When word of trade talks between Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and counterpart Brian Burke of the Maple Leafs leaked out to the public prior to the June entry draft in Los Angeles, the Savard-to-Toronto chatter reached a fever pitch on the talk shows, the web and throughout the twitter world.

Savard admittedly was bothered by all the scuttlebutt, telling the Ottawa Sun last month that hearing "all this stuff this summer bothered me inside more than anything else."

Now, just four weeks after uttering those comments, the biggest question mark looming over the gifted centre is not where he will play.

It's when he will play.

Or if he will play.

Because as it stands right now, no one knows the answers to those queries. Not even Marc Savard himself.

When the Bruins step on to the TD Garden ice tomorrow for their first day of training camp workouts, Savard will not be out there with his teammates.

Not because he doesn't want to.

It's because he can't.

His head won't let him.

More than half a year after Savard had his noggin bounced off the unforgiving Mellon Area ice surface by a controversial hit delivered by Pittsburgh Penguins bad boy Matt Cooke on March 7, the cobwebs between his ears apparently have come back to haunt him. As a result, he recently revealed to Chiarelli that he once again is suffering symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.

"He's in good spirits," Chiarelli said. "We're taking it day by day."

The most alarming part of the situation?

Pretty much everyone -- doctors, front office staff, even Savard himself -- figured he had left his concussion problems in the rear view mirror when he returned to action for Game 1 of the Bruins second-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers last spring.

Obviously not.

"I've heard of this happening before," Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said Friday. "All indications suggest a guy has left behind all the effects of a concussion. Then, when they least expect it, it's back.

"It's so different from one guy to another, concussions. It's hard to tell and that's why it's hard to treat as well. That's why doctors never really know what can and cannot happen."

If anyone knows how devastating the effects of a concussion came be, it's Bergeron.

On October 27, 2007, Bergeron was hit from behind by Flyers defenceman Randy Jones. In the subsequent weeks, a concussed Bergeron could not even walk from his couch to the kitchen because of the effects of the Jones hit.

Bergeron admits he was lucky. Almost a year after the hit, he was able to play in a regular season again. But he will never forget. Never.

Asked if he harbours concerns the effects might come back like they have with Savard, Bergeron said no.

"It's been two years," he said.

With Savard on the shelf, coach Claude Julien will keep highly touted first-round selection Tyler Seguin at centre. The original plans were to try Seguin on the wing, but those have been put on hold.

Chiarelli recently told Savard that the Bruins were "happy" he was part of the team going forward. Now, given this latest turn of events, all either party can do is sit and wait.


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