BOSTON — After a summer full of trade rumors, there was always a chance Marc Savard wouldn’t be on the ice for the Boston Bruins at the start of training camp.
Turns out he won’t be, though not for the reason anybody expected.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday that Savard has been suffering for a couple weeks from post-concussion syndrome. The star center was in Boston while the team was taking physicals, but he couldn’t work out and will not address the media.
Chiarelli would not reveal the exact nature of the symptoms.
“He’s in good spirits,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve talked to him. He’s in good spirits and he’s anxious to get back. We’re just being very cautious and we’ll take it day by day.”
Savard initially sustained a concussion March 7 after being hit from behind by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. Savard missed the rest of the regular season and did not return to the Bruins’ lineup until the first game of the club’s second-round playoff series against Philadelphia.
He scored the winning overtime goal in his first game back and competed in all seven games of the Bruins’ history-making loss, which saw them squander a 3-0 series lead.
There had been no indication from the Bruins in the weeks before camp that Savard was having any medical issues. Chiarelli even said that he golfed with Savard last week, and team officials said Savard wasn’t in Boston for informal captain’s practices this week because he was home in Ottawa “tying up loose ends.”
Before the onset of the symptoms, Chiarelli said Savard “was actually training quite hard with his personal trainer for a number of weeks.”
“It’s unfortunate. Right now, we’re looking at a real good player, a player we want to see back in our lineup. But those are things that unfortunately we can’t control from the coach’s points of view,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We’ve got to move on without him for the time being. My focus has to be on those 50-plus players that we have at training camp.”
The Bruins aren’t new to dealing with concussions sustained by key players.
Center Patrice Bergeron missed most of the 2007-08 season after he was injured on a hit from behind by Philadelphia’s Randy Jones in October 2007. Bergeron, who sustained another unrelated concussion the following season, knows he’s fortunate that he has not had any reoccurrence of the original symptoms since that initial hit.
“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,” Bergeron said. “That’s why doctors never really know what can and cannot happen.”