Savvy's return from a broken foot and Lucic's comeback from a broken thumb will mean more to this team than just a bunch of assists and an unlimited supply of body checks and right hooks. What both players bring to this team reach beyond the stat sheet and penalty box.
"[Savard] is definitely somebody that the opposing team has to keep an eye
on," winger Blake Wheeler told BostonBruins.com. "He's as talented as they come in terms of
moving the puck to his wingers and his linemates. And he's a guy that,
behind closed doors, does a lot for our team as well, so we're
definitely excited to have Savvy back and hopefully he hits the ground
Savvy didn't exactly achieve Wheeler's goal for him in his first game back on Monday against the Blues, as the top-line center was held without a point or shot in 16:30 of ice time.
“Not bad," he told the Boston Herald when asked how his first game back went. "I felt a little rusty at times, I had some chances. I felt pretty good — I think it’s coming. I had fun and we won [so] it’s a good thing.”
His teammates have a lot more fun when he's one the ice, too.
Although the B's have won just four of eight games in which Savard has played this season, his presence alone changes the opponents' mindset. Since taking residence in the Hub a few years ago, he's proven that he's not only capable of finding an open man that many others don't see, but that he can sometimes even create openings for teammates.
"Firstly, he wants the puck," Lucic told WEEI. "He’s a guy that’s a puck-possession guy and
he wants it all the time. So he’s a guy that’s very demanding of
himself and his line mates that he wants results and he wants to go out
there and contribute every night getting goals and assists, and the
thing about him is he’s got eyes all around his head. It’s funny, if you
get open for him, he’ll find you even when you’re not looking at him.
That’s what makes him such a great player, and for myself I was happy
to play with him and have such a successful year with him last year.
He’s always aware of his surroundings, that’s for sure."
Hopefully Savard will take the same path Lucic did upon his return, as the big winger needed just one game to shake off the cobwebs.
Lucic had a relatively quiet night in his return to the ice last Thursday in Atlanta, and aside from a huge body check in the opening minutes and a pair of shots on net, Lucic flew largely under the radar. But with a total of two goals and nine hits in his second and third games back, Lucic proved to his fans and teammates just how important he is to this squad.
"If it means we are going to be a better team, that's great," head coach Claude Julien said about Lucic and Savard returning. "But we have to go out there and show that. We've seen that before, where teams want to rely on guys coming back and they still have to do their job. That's the important part. Our guys have to keep working hard here and keep doing what they've been doing lately. Putting another player in the lineup hopefully makes you better, but it doesn't give anybody a reason to slack off."