BOSTON — Marc Savard's teammates were thrilled to see him back in the locker room on Saturday. They'll be even happier when they see him on the ice again, though they know that will take some time.
"We'd like to see him back and healthy, but at this point he needs time to get better," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "It's nice to see him here around the guys. Right now the most important thing is his health. We have to support him as much as we can, give him that comfort he needs to feel. I'm sure as soon as he's feeling better he's going to be back at it. Right now, he's still getting some symptoms that he has to deal with. We have to respect that. He's our teammate. He's part of our family."
Center Patrice Bergeron, who has overcome his own concussion issues in recent years, also empathizes with Savard's situation.
"Obviously I'm feeling for him, but it happens," said Bergeron of the recurrence of post-concussion syndrome symptoms. "We've seen that happen. I just hope he takes his time to get better and it was nice to see him today."
Bruins coach Claude Julien agreed, even while admitting that Savard's presence in the lineup will be difficult to replace.
"We need to give him a chance to get better," said Julien. "Health is the most important thing, not the game at this moment. Once his health is better and he's ready to come back, then we have to make sure we ease him back in and more than anything else, we'll be glad to have him back because he's one of those elite players."
Bergeron believes that after dealing with so many injuries in recent seasons, the Bruins will be able to survive without Savard while he continues his recovery.
"He has to take his time," said Bergeron. "His health is the most important priority. That being said, we need to step up as a team and as players. Obviously he's a big part of our team, but we've been through adversity before the last couple years."
In the meantime, both Savard and the Bruins will benefit to having Savard back around the team.
"It's good for him, he's certainly going to feel better being around his teammates," said Julien. "His teammates are certainly glad to see him. Everybody cares about a player who's going through those kind of tough times. There was a bunch of players and coaching staff reaching out to him and making sure that he knew we were thinking of him and looking forward to him getting back. ? He's a teammate. He's part of this team whether he's in the lineup or not."