February 7, 2011

Distraught Savard discusses decision to call it a season

Bruins center Marc Savard. (Getty)

BOSTON -- Marc Savard may have been strong enough to fight off the tears on Monday afternoon, but masking his emotional devastation was understandably impossible.

 Alongside GM Peter Chiarelli and Dr. Peter Asnis, the Bruins center announced he would be sitting out for the remainder of the 2010-11 season after suffering a second concussion in less than a calendar year.

 "I think when that hit happened against Colorado, I said to (athletic trainer Don DelNegro), 'Why? Why again?'" Savard said. "So it's tough. I guess things happen in hockey. It's a fast game and it's something that I'll just have to get over."

 The 33-year-old forward was referring to, of course, the hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick, and said he felt no ill-will toward his former teammate.

 "I do remember the hit," said Savard. "I had a quick black-out and then I lost all the energy that I had at that point in the game. I felt weak, but it was nothing compared to the other one."

 Hunwick has already reached out to him on two occasions, repeatedly expressing his remorse.

 "Matt's contacted me already," Savard said. "He feels terrible, but that one's not his fault. I was skating fast for once and he just finished his check. He said he felt sick for the rest of the game and had trouble playing. It was a tough incident, but I don't think that one was a bad hit at all."

 In his opening statement, Chiarelli stated the decision was made collectively, and everyone involved agreed that it would be the best course of action for Savard's health in both the short and long-term.

 "We spoke on a couple of occasions after (the concussion)," said Chiarelli. "He's been having recurring symptoms and obviously the proximity between the last concussion and this concussion have led us to this decision. Over the weekend, I met with Marc's representative, Larry Kelly. Marc met with the doctors and the medical staff here on Friday and we came to this conclusion."

 For Savard, battling all of those symptoms once again has made it doubly frustrating.

 "There's still some headaches off an on," he said, "but the thing that scares the most is little memory things where I forget I've asked someone a question or little things like that."

 During his first comeback from post-concussion syndrome, Savard's inability to regain his old form mentally was perhaps the most surprising aspect of the situation to Chiarelli.

 "It was a concern, and Marc's communicated to me also about how he sees the speed of the game," said Chiarelli. "That to me, coming from him who thinks two or three steps ahead of everyone on the ice... I know he was working really hard to get back to the level he was at. I think he was frustrated at times because it didn't come back."

 And now, one must wonder if it ever will. Savard doesn't even want to think about that just yet.

 "I've obviously tried to stay away from that right now," he said when asked about his future beyond this year. "It's tough enough as it is to not be able to finish the season. I'm going to get some more medical stuff done, and then I'll be able to make a clear decision on what my future is. Right now, I'm hoping to be able to continue at some point."

 Savard plans on returning to Peterborough, Ontario for the time being, but will return to the Boston area to regularly check in with Dr. Asnis.

 In the meantime, the B's leading point-getter in each of his first three seasons with the club will continue to keep his hopes high that his teammates can soldier on without him.

 "Obviously it's tough right now cause we have such a great hockey team," Savard said. "It's going to be tough to watch, but I think they're going to do great."