News doesn’t have to be shocking to be sad. Given the blows Marc Savard has taken over the past two years and the severe head trauma he’s experienced, the comments from Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli won’t be catching many by surprise.
Still, hearing that Savard’s career could be over at 34 years old after seeing minimal NHL ice time since 2008-09 just simply sucks.
Chiarelli started by saying that Savard isn’t expected to play this season, and is still experiencing post-concussion symptoms over seven months after his 2010-11 season ended after another jarring hit, this time courtesy of Colorado’s Matt Hunwick.
The team has continued to monitor Savard’s progress, or lack thereof, and the diagnosis hasn’t changed. Including the playoffs, Savard has missed 83 games due to two separate and severe head injuries over the last two seasons, the most infamous coming when Matt Cooke decided it was a good idea to take advantage of a vulnerable player.
Hope will always linger for Savard, but now it’s been re-directed away from the game of hockey. Chiarelli said he just hopes Savard is able to live a healthy, happy, and normal life, and that the team is operating under the assumption that his career is over.
From the Boston Globe:
“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. “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.”
Savard’s career as a playmaking centre blossomed when he scored a career-high 28 goals and 97 points with the Thrashers in 2005-06, and his 69 assists tied him for third in the league, ahead of Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk. That earned him a five-year contract with the Bruins later that summer as an unrestricted free agent, and although his production tailed off during his second Beantown season, Savard still scored 62 goals and 262 points over his first three years in Boston before the wrath of Cooke struck and he missed half of the 2009-10 season.
Prior to Cooke’s hit Chiarelli rewarded Savard with a seven-year contract extension worth $28 million, meaning he’s still signed until the end of the 2016-17 season. That leaves lots of time for hope, but it seems like hope is in short supply.
In a related matter, it’s officially September tomorrow, so we’re a little less than three weeks away from the first headshot debate of the new NHL season.