Marc Savard, cleared for practice Tuesday after passing a neuro-psych and exertion test, skated on his own again Wednesday before the Bruins held their optional skate. But following the skate, head coach Claude Julien tempered the notion that Savard could return for Game 5 on Friday.
Of course, this could be Julien playing some mind games with Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff and the Sabres, but right now, the indication is that Savard won't be returning for this series.
"For me to stand here and say 'I predict he’s going to be back at this stage' would be unrealistic," Julien said. "So we’re just going to go day by day with him, and if he gets better sooner, great. We’re still working on getting him in shape right now and doing the things we’re told to do with him. And that’s where we’re at."
Julien stressed that Savard's on-ice condition must be up to playing level, and he still needs to pass some physical tests in practice, one of them being his response to physical contact.
"He’s been out for six weeks," the coach said matter-of-factly. "He hasn’t be able to exercise or do anything. When you bring a guy back in the playoffs, you’ve got to make sure that for his sake, No. 1, he’s ready to jump in. He’s got to be in shape to keep up with that pace. The other part is that if he passes that test, that means he can start skating and do different kinds of things. But he still has to go through different types of tests, and he hasn’t taken any contact yet."
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