WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Less than 24 hours after the Boston Bruins officially placed centerman Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve due to his second concussion in a 10-month period, his teammates realize they’ll have to move on without his playmaking abilities.
The Bruins did not practice on Monday but were in attendance for Savard’s press conference at TD Garden. The team was back on the ice Tuesday morning in preparation for its game against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night in Boston.
“He’s been a big part of this team,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “He’s obviously a creative guy who knows how to produce and has shown he can produce and that’s what we’re going to miss the most. Saying that, we’ve also played a lot of games this year without him and we’ve been able to do well without him.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge," Lucic continued. "It should motivate some guys to take more of a role themselves to step up their game. We need that from everyone. Every night we play we’re going to need all 20 guys.”
The Bruins have proven they can be successful without Savard’s services and they’ll have to do that again.
“We have to hold strong,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We can’t replace him, but everybody needs to step their game up and compensate for what we lost. You can’t replace him. He’s a great player and a great teammate.”
Goaltender Tim Thomas, who has been a major cog for the Bruins this season, has learned more about concussions over the last few seasons because his teammates and close friends have been affected significantly by head injuries. He said that while he would like to have Savard in the lineup, his teammate’s quality of life is first and foremost.
“We’re talking about his brain. We’re not talking about playing through a knee injury that might make it so you’re uncomfortable walking around the rest of your life,” Thomas said. “We’re talking about the ability to think, the ability to feel normal.
“It affects your whole life. It affects your feelings, your moods, your thought processes and your ability to remember things. He’s had a hard year and I just hope he gets over all the concussion symptoms. I don’t care about hockey at this point, I hope for him as a person he can start to feel normal again.”
Without Savard in the lineup, the Bruins will rely heavily on the play of David Krejci. The crafty centerman has been streaky this season, but now he’ll need to find that consistency and sustain it for the remainder of the season.
“He has shown that in the past and he’s done it numerous times in the past, whether it was his first year when Bergeron went down (2007-2008), or when Savard went down [last season],” explained Julien. “He’s become a very good player and he thrives on being relied upon and he likes those kinds of challenges. I would like to think it’ll happen again.”
The Bruins have been in this situation before, so they know what it’ll take to remain atop the Northeast Division for the remainder of the season in hopes of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If they do accomplish that goal, it’ll be without Savard.
“We’ve dealt with adversity before,” Lucic said. “Going through these speed bumps and adversities will only make you stronger as a team if you’re able to overcome that. Hopefully it will make us stronger as a team and help us reach our goal.”