OTTAWA - What looked to be a triumphant return will now likely be the last significant moment of Marc Savard’s NHL career.
With the Bruins’ announcement on Wednesday that the Orleans native has been ruled out for the 2011-12 season — and probably forever — we have to rewind to two springs ago.
That May and facing the Flyers in Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs, the Bruins centre was playing in his first game in about two months since suffering a nasty concussion thanks to the cheapest of cheap shots from the Penguins’ Matt Cooke (we’ll leave it at that). All Savard did was score the overtime winner in one of the feel-good stories of the post-season.
Still feeling the effects of Cooke’s blindside hit that summer, Savard’s return to action was delayed until December. He returned to play in 25 games last season, scoring only two goals and 10 points, then was shut down in early February and placed on long-term IR by Boston.
This time, it was due to a hard hit from Avalanche defenceman and former Bruins teammate Matt Hunwick in a game on Jan. 22.
With that, Savard missed the Bruins’ incredible run to their first Stanley Cup title in nearly four decades.
Not only was Savard unable to play, his post-concussion syndrome left him too sick to travel and watch his teammates in person as they won Game 7 of the Cup final in Vancouver against the Canucks.
“Marc Savard won’t play this year,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Globe on Wednesday. “Nothing has changed in our monitoring. He’ll be examined and he’ll be declared unfit to play.”
The 34-year-old Savard is signed through 2016-17, but the Bruins are assuming his career is over.
“Based on what I see, what I hear, what I read, and what I’m told, it’s very unlikely Marc will play again,” Chiarelli said to the Globe.
“Now, knowing the uncertainty of this injury, there’s always a chance (he could play). But based on what I’m told, it’s very unlikely he’ll play. As an employer, I support him and hope he gets back to living a healthy life.”
So there you have it. Savard’s line reads 207 goals and 499 assists for 706 points in 807 games in 13 seasons with the Rangers, Flames, Thrashers and Bruins.
Because Savard didn’t suit up in the playoffs for the Bruins, he isn’t eligible to have his named engraved on the Cup.
Chiarelli and the Bruins have been lobbying hard to have Savard included with the rest of his teammates.
Here’s hoping the NHL is listening and gets it right.