Instead, the focus was divided with an apparent departure of another Bruin.
Marco Sturm, who, like Savard, has yet to play this season while recovering from knee surgery, was reportedly traded to Los Angeles, a story first reported by Canadian web site TSN.ca. But as the Bruins' 8-1 victory over Tampa Bay was winding down, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli released a statement refuting the reports of the deal.
"I am aware of the various media reports today regarding Marco Sturm," read Chiarelli's statement. "I can confirm that I spoke to Marco about waiving his no-trade clause and have had discussions regarding Marco with other teams. I can also confirm that there is no trade in place with Marco. At this time, Marco is a member of the Boston Bruins and will continue to train with our team."
The sticking point is believed to be the condition of Sturm's surgically repaired right knee. Sturm suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the opening game of the second round of the playoffs against Philadelphia last spring, this after missing most of the previous season after tearing ligaments in his left knee.
With so much of his game based on speed, there are questions about his ability to produce upon his return, as well as exactly when he will be able to return. The Bruins are also faced with salary cap issues that will require them to trade, waive or demote other players to clear room for Sturm's pro-rated $3.5 million cap hit. Unless, of course, they are able to trade Sturm instead.
Sturm is a popular player in the Bruins' locker room, and his teammates were disappointed to hear about his potential move.
"I just know what everybody heard that he had waived his no-trade," said Savard. "It's a tough thing to go through. We're glad to have him back. He's a great person. We were sad to let him go first of all, but we're going to see him [Friday] and it will be business as usual."
Savard admitted it was a strange day at the rink as he first learned of Sturm's trade, then found out no deal had actually been consummated.
"It was a little different for sure, especially with a good friend like that," said Savard. "And then to hear he's not gone. But we're happy to have him. We've had a tough run [rehabbing] together and we've supported each other along the way. When the news came he was getting traded it was tough because we're good friends, but like I said, I'm going to be seeing him [Friday] and I'm happy he's still with us."
That was a sentiment shared throughout the Boston locker room.
"We're good friends," said Patrice Bergeron, a frequent linemate of Sturm's in their five years together. "I'm just happy he's still with the team."
And Bruins coach Claude Julien made sure to leave no question that Sturm was still a part of the team.
"All I can say is — and I can speak on behalf of the whole team — he's part of our team," said Julien. "He's nowhere else but with us, and that's how we're going to embrace him as one of our teammates. Just because there's a possibility [of a trade] doesn't mean he's gone."
But the Bruins know there's still a strong possibility that Sturm will get dealt if Chiarelli can find a trade partner.
"Everybody," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, "loves Marco in this room."
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