April 22, 2010
Savard to take practice with BruinsClub still doesn't have definitive timeline on return
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
BUFFALO - Bruin Marc Savard might be passing Thomas Vanek in the race to see which scoring star comes back quicker in this series.
Savard continues to make progress after a March 7 concussion when K.O.'d by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. After passing a neuro-psyche test earlier this week, he was cleared to fly here with the Bruins and participate in his first full practice Friday morning before Game 5.
“There’s nothing like being back on the ice,” Savard told reporters after the Bruins worked out in Wilmington, Mass. on Thursday “Just keep taking it a day at a time and get stronger that way.”
Vanek, meanwhile, was not looking as certain as Wednesday about fast-tracking his return. Injuring his left ankle in Game 2, Vanek surprised everyone by skating the morning of Game 4, but didn’t seem as spry on Thursday.
“I’ve got to be healthy enough to help the team and we’ll make that assessment (Friday),” Vanek said.
Few Sabres are feeling optimistic about the state of affairs after they came home from a double-overtime defeat, down 3-1 in the series. They couldn’t have played much better in Game 4, winning the trench battles that are the key in this hard-hitting series, yet letting a 2-0 lead slip away in the third period.
But as desperate as the Sabres are, they likely won’t push Vanek into a premature return. Coach Lindy Ruff figures he’ll get another good game out of Cody McCormick, a London, Ont,-born call-up, whose hits put a few Bruins on their rumps in Game 4.
The Sabres continue to struggle on their power play, losing another chance in overtime in Game 4, their only true consistency in the series opening the scoring in all four games.
“No question we’d like to score the first,” Boston winger Mark Recchi said. “But it’s not something we’re going to dwell on. We know that has been the weak link for us in the series, if anything. But it’s not going to kill us. We’re a team that’s pretty resilient.”