Blake Wheeler is just one of the Bruins excited to have Marc Savard returning to the lineup. When asked what kind of boost the playmaking center would provide to the NHL's worst offense, Wheeler had a hard time hiding his enthusiasm.
"Obviously he is going to help us a lot and it will be good to have him back, but I'm happy to just have him around the [locker] room again," Wheeler said. "Savvy is just a great guy in the dressing room and always upbeat, and we need that right now."
The Bruins are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and a 1-8-1 slide over their last 10 games. To say times are tough for the Black and Gold would be an understatement, and the frustration is evident in the players' tone with the media. So while the team's top pivot will definitely help them get back on track on the ice, Savard's presence and leadership may play just as important a role for a team like this that needs to stop pressing.
"He's always been that kind of a teammate in the room where he keeps things loose," head coach Claude Julien explained. "[But] when the puck gets dropped, he's a pretty competitive individual. However it's perceived at times, he's a proud competitor.
"[It's nice] to have him around and know that when the chips are down, he's ready to go. And then when you have days like these, he can also keep the guys a little bit loose and still having fun. This is as important as anything else. It's a little heavy right now, but if you don't have fun going to work, I don't think you're as productive."
Savard has led the team in points in each of the three seasons he has worn the spoked B. But this season, the crafty center has been plagued by injuries, suffering a broken foot and then a partially torn MCL. In 28 games he has 13 assists and 22 points. But Julien knows that if Savard can string together enough games, he will find his groove and help the team down the stretch.
"I just don't think Savvy has had a chance to get his game going as far as getting some momentum because he was hurt right off the get-go and then he came back and got hurt again," said Julien. "So I think that's more what I'm looking at — hopefully keeping him healthy and him finding his groove again, because he makes things happen when he's on the ice and when he's at his best."
Savard agreed, and just as his teammates are glad to have him back, he's relieved to be back with them, going through the daily grind of an NHL season.
"You know, it's like they always say. That's one of those things you miss the most — just being around the guys," Savard said. "It's been good to pass the time with my new dog and playing Xbox, but I'm ready to get back, be with the guys and help this team start winning again."