With his teammates celebrating their Stanley Cup victory with 1 million of their closest friends on the streets of Boston, Savard just wanted to be a part of it. He didn't want any headlines, and he didn't want to take any attention from the players who won the Cup in his absence.
He didn't want it, but watching the usually animated Savard look so timid and quiet, it's too difficult to ignore.
"Short-term memory stuff is terrible. Hopefully that gets better," Savard told reporters Saturday morning, nearly five full months after suffering his second major concussion in as many years.
That concussion came on a normal hockey play, a collision with former Bruin Matt Hunwick that left Savard shaken on the Colorado ice.
On Saturday, Savard didn't want to share his plans for his hockey future.
"That's still up in the air, I'm not really focusing on that," he told NESN's Naoko Funayama. "I'm kind of letting the boys have the spotlight, because they earned it, and I just want to stay on the backburner."
While his words didn't say it, his tone did. This is a man who doesn't believe he'll be able to play professional hockey again, and that is a crying shame.
It's unfortunate more than anything, but it certainly appears to be the case. Savard will turn 34 years old in July. He has three children. As much as he loves hockey, and as much as fans love watching him play, life takes precedence over a game.
If Savard's NHL career is indeed over, it'll be one cut short by a late, dirty hit by Matt Cooke, a known cheap-shot artist who continues to parade around the league, taking liberties with whomever he feels like. The league has finally taken notice, twice suspending Cooke this season for dangerous hits. The second punishment kept him out for 10 games and the first round of the playoffs, as his absence was a major reason the Penguins couldn't make it past the Lightning.
Cooke, of course, wasn't suspended or fined for his hit on Savard, which knocked the center unconscious in Pittsburgh in March 2010. Given the head issues that's Savard has been dealing with for more than a year, though, it's obvious that no suspension or fine could have ever delivered justice to Cooke.
Perhaps the suspensions this season will prevent Cooke from hitting players from behind and elbowing players in the head, and maybe it'll help prevent another serious injury, but none of that will help Marc Savard. Matt Cooke will continue to skate in the NHL for as long as he likes while Savard struggles with memory loss. It's cruel and it's unfair, and there's no way to make it better.
But really, this isn't time for rage or anger about Cooke. It's simply a situation that leaves nobody feeling all that great. For the Bruins, the Stanley Cup victory was wonderful, of course, and the celebration involved pure joy from the players, coaches and fans.
Still, in the back of everyone's mind was No. 91, and by his own words, he says he is improving.
"I'm feeling better, but I still have my days," Savard said. "My memory is the biggest thing. My memory isn't very good. Mornings are tough, but besides that, I've been doing a lot better, that's for sure."
On a human level, you just have to hope those improvements continue. On a hockey level, you have to realize that an All-Star's career will likely be cut short.
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