Marc Savard’s Future Still in Doubt After Concussions Cut Short Another Season

Marc Savard's Future Still in Doubt After Concussions Cut Short Another Season Editor's Note: Over the next few weeks, NESN.com Bruins beat writer Douglas Flynn will be taking an in-depth look at one Bruins player each day, analyzing that player's performance last season and outlook heading into the 2011-12 campaign.

It was a lost year for Marc Savard, who missed camp and the first two months of the season due to lingering post-concussion syndrome, then had his season ended in January after suffering another concussion. He continues to deal with symptoms from that injury, with his status for the upcoming season — and beyond — in doubt.

2010-11 stats: 25 games, 2-8-10, minus-7, 29 PIMs

Playoffs: Did not play

Contract status: Signed through 2016-17, $4.007-million cap hit 

Preseason expectations: After Savard returned in the second round of the 2010 playoffs against Philadelphia, scoring the game-winner in overtime in his first game back, there was hope that he would be able to get back to the form he displayed prior to Matt Cooke's devastating cheap shot. Those hopes were dashed when the Bruins revealed at the start of camp that Savard had suffered a recurrence of post-concussion symptoms over the summer and would not be participating in camp. At that point, it was uncertain when or even if Savard would be able to return and what he would contribute in the 2010-11 season.

Regular-season evaluation: Savard did eventually make it back into the lineup at the start of December, but he lasted just 25 games before suffering another concussion on a hit by former Bruin Matt Hunwick in Colorado on Jan. 22. Savard did not play again after that second concussion in 10 months, and remains out indefinitely. Even when he did play briefly this season, the lingering effects of the first concussion left Savard a shell of his former self. He managed just 10 points and was a team-worst minus-7. A crafty playmaker whose vision helped him stay one move ahead of defenders, Savard looked sluggish and a step behind the play. There were still flashes of his old self, such as scoring the game-winner in Toronto on Jan. 3 and setting up rookie Steven Kampfer's first NHL goal in Tampa on Dec. 28. He even showed a bit of his old feisty side when he dropped the gloves with Bryan Little in a line brawl against Atlanta. Amazingly, that was his only fight as a Bruin, and it came in a season when he struggled so much with head injuries. But it was clear that Savard was not back to full speed even before suffering the second concussion in Colorado.

Playoff evaluation: Savard put in a couple of appearances at the Garden to catch up with his teammates and play a cheerleading role from the stands, but he was largely absent from the club's run to the Cup. While Nathan Horton, who suffered a concussion of his own in Game 3 of the Final, traveled with the team to Vancouver for Game 7 and was able to hoist the Cup on the Rogers Arena ice, Savard was still not up to such a cross-continent flight. He was in Boston for the Duckboat parade, but admitted then that he was still suffering post-concussion symptoms. "I'm feeling better, but I still have my days," Savard said the day of the rolling rally. "My memory is the biggest thing. My memory isn't very good. … Short-term memory stuff is terrible."

2011-12 outlook: With his ongoing post-concussion issues, Savard is not expected to participate in training camp and any appearance on the ice this season would be a major surprise. Resuming his career at any point is in serious doubt, though no decision on retirement has been made and the Bruins won't pressure him to make any decision as they can continue to get cap relief by placing Savard on long-term injured reserve. The Bruins have petitioned to get Savard's name engraved on the Cup with his teammates even though he did not play the required 41 regular-season games or one game in the Final, but to this point no official decision on that request has been made by the league.

Coming Monday, August 1: Zdeno Chara

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