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Notes: 'Have to be patient' on Savard

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien did not have much of an update on the status of Marc Savard as the center continues to recover from post-concussion syndrome, saying only that Savard is improving each day.

As for whether Savard could be placed on long-term injured reserve, Julien would not speculate.

“I can’t answer that right now because I’ve taken the approach that he’s not with us,” Julien said. “I’ve got to work with the group that’s here. I haven’t had a real good chance to talk to the medical staff. He’s been working out, that much I know, and it’s getting better every day, so I look forward to seeing him on the ice, and we’ll take it from there.

“He’s behind by at least a month, month and a half, already. We’ll have to be patient and give him a chance to come back. Right now, I don’t think there’s any reason why we should push this guy to get back, more than we should be helping him get back. That’s the thing we have to make sure we do here, is give him due time to make that comeback, and when he’s ready to make it, we’ll help him through it.”

Savard joined the team on its two-day bonding trip in Vermont before the season. But he did not make the 11-day European trip that stopped for exhibitions in Belfast and two regular-season games with Phoenix in Prague.

Last month, Savard failed a neurological examination and told reporters several days later that he is “not close to 100 percent yet.” There is no word yet on when his next test will be.

Solid debut for Caron

Rookie right winger Jordan Caron was a factor in making his NHL debut in Sunday’s win over Phoenix, which gave the Bruins a split heading back to North America. Caron, who dazzled in the QMJHL last season first with Rimouski then Rouyn-Noranda, registered two shots on goal and a hit in 14 shifts (9:42 of ice time).

The positive momentum, he said, was established on his first shift, when he crashed on a rebound and flicked a shot wide of the net.

“It was a good first shift and after that everything went well,” Caron said.

So how about those butterflies?

“I wasn’t too nervous,” Caron said. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just wanted to go out and play like I always did, and that’s what I did. I think it went well.”

Horton hears a Looch

The chemistry on Boston’s top line of center David Krejci and forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton is evident early, as the three have combined for nine of the team’s 14 points.

Horton, who came away from Prague with a team-high three goals in two games, has spoken almost ad nauseum about what a joy it is to come to the rink every day. His body language on the ice suggests that’s no canned quote, either, as he keeps things loose and light-hearted with the similarly styled Lucic.

“Two great players,” Horton said of Lucic and Krejci. “For me, those two guys are so talented, it’s only going to get better and it has been getting better. We’re excited. We’re having fun, excited to step on the ice together as a line, and I think that’s why it’s working out.”

So far, the big-bodied Horton has demonstrated great awareness around the net. All three of his goals have been on wrist shots that came in the mid- or low slot area.

“I try, obviously I get some nice passes from my linemates,” Horton said. “I think that’s the best spot to get a puck on the ice. You’ve got lots of angles to shoot at, I think anybody would want it there.”

Here and there

* Julien said Marco Sturm “hasn’t skated yet,” but the injured right winger is expected to start “very soon.” Julien would not be more specific. Sturm tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on his right knee just 21 seconds into Game 1 of the Bruins’ second-round series with Philadelphia on May 1 and could return by December.

* Andrew Ference warmed up with Bruins strength coach John Whitesides for a half-hour before practice, going through an assortment of skating drills. Ference recently received a cortisone injection in his thumb and was told by doctors not to shoot any pucks for a couple of days. Julien expects him to practice with the team Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena. He said the injury didn’t come from the two games in Prague last weekend. “No, it’s something that he’s had and just needed to be taken care of before the point where it needed more attention,” Julien said. “There shouldn’t be any issues with that the rest of the year.

* Dennis Seidenberg left the ice about midway through the morning session, leaving the Bruins with five defensemen the rest of the way. Shawn Thornton, platooning with Brad Marchand, Gregory Campbell and Brian McGrattan on the fourth forward line, switched from the maroon fourth-line practice sweater to a black one designated for defensemen to finish out the practice. Julien thinks it was either a touch of the flu or food poisoning that kept Seidenberg from finishing. “Very minor,” he said.