When Marc Savard finally addressed the media on Saturday, it was clear from both his words and his demeanor that he still faces a long road to a full recovery from the post-concussion syndrome symptoms that have plagued him this summer.
On Sunday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted that with the length of time it could take Savard to be ready to return to action, placing him on long-term injured reserve to start the season is a possibility.
"That could happen," said Chiarelli in a conference call with reporters. "It is a little early to tell. But based on what he's been going through with the post-concussion symptoms, the time he's been experiencing it, and the time he hasn't been doing anything, it's tracking that way right now."
Players on LTIR must miss at least 10 games and 24 calendar days. Unlike regular injured reserve, teams do get cap relief for the salaries of players on LTIR. With Savard possessing a cap hit of $4.007-million as he enters the first year of a seven-year, $28.05-million contract and with Marco Sturm ($3.5-million cap hit) also slated to begin the year on LTIR as he recovers from knee surgery, the Bruins may not have to make any other moves to clear up their cap situation this season if Savard is out long enough.
At the very least, putting Savard on LTIR to start the season gives them some added leeway before any hard decisions will have to be made.
Of course, it also denies the Bruins of their best offensive player, and losing Savard for any length of time will create a major hole up front for the club.
While it now appears unlikely that Savard — who is presently in Vermont with the Bruins for their team-building retreat — will be back for the start of the season, Chiarelli remains optimistic about the long-term outlook for the talented playmaker to eventually return to the lineup.
"It's a real delicate situation," said Chiarelli. "He's been making progress and we're going to do everything from the organization we can do to help him. What I can tell you is he was in the room [on Saturday] doctoring up his sticks like he normally does, and that was a good thing to see."