Savard: 'I'm right on schedule'

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins center Marc Savard skated under the watchful eye of the training staff Thursday at TD Garden prior to the team's pregame skate.

After his workout, Savard shared his plans for returning from the knee injury that has kept him out for two weeks.

"I feel good. I'm right on schedule," said Savard, who was originally predicted to be out three to four weeks. "I skated today for my second time. [Wednesday] morning I went for a little twirl and everything feels good.

"Obviously, I'm shooting for that Buffalo game [next Friday] and I'm hoping that's when I'm back."

That positive feeling Savard got while skating caused some higher hopes in his mind about a quicker return. But he knows that patience is the key right now to making it back and helping the Bruins for the rest of the season.

"That's the big thing. I'm out there today and I feel really good. So I think, 'Maybe I can play Sunday.' But that's not the case," he said. "I have to watch it and make sure. You don't want to come back Sunday and be out again. I'll lose my mind -- not that I haven't already lost it. I'm going to just work through it, have a good skate [Friday], maybe sneak in with the team for a bit hopefully and then go from there."

Prior to this season, Savard, who led the Bruins with 88 points last season, missed just eight games (all coming last season) to injury or illness. This season he has played in just 28 of the team's 48 games. That's made for a mental struggle as much as a physical one.

"It's draining, that's for sure. There's a lot of long days," he said. "Especially with me, I've been a pretty healthy guy for the last five years since the lockout and it's been tough emotionally like that. But in the same sense, I'll maybe get better from this stuff and stronger. I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides]. He's helped me out. And the training staff -- Scotty [Waugh], Donnie [Del Negro] and Derek [Repucci] -- and hopefully I'm better for all of this and I finish strong."

The Bruins had lost 100 man-games to injury this season prior to the Columbus Blue Jackets' visit to the TD Garden on Thursday night and have barely had a game or two with a full roster. The only thing Savard can do at this point is work hard to get back and put a positive spin on all of the time missed by him and his teammates.

"Maybe this is a different thing [than last season] and we're going to roll through the end of the season," Savard said. "I think maybe this is a blessing in disguise. We're going to get everybody healthy toward the end of the year and maybe make a big push coming down the stretch."

In other injury news, Marco Sturm (leg), Byron Bitz (undisclosed) and Steven Begin (undisclosed) remain unavailable for Thursday night's game against the Blue Jackets.

Begin skated for a bit before the team while Bitz stayed off the ice. Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Sturm's early exit from Wednesday's practice was not a setback and also that the injury is in no way related to Sturm's knee surgery of a year ago.

Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice after the skate, so he'll most likely be the starting goaltender Thursday night.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.