Marc Savard will return sometime in December and will be practicing with the team soon, according to a statement made by Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien Thursday, after the team's 4-0 victory against the Florida Panthers.
"Marc is pretty close," Julien said. "He's not there yet. We hope that in the next, I guess, few days or a week from now that he'll be able to join us. So you know, he's getting close. His conditioning is getting better, and I think after that, you know, he needs to go through a few other tests and then we can move forward with him."
Savard has been on long-term Injured Reserve for the team's first seventeen games after being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. However, in his absence, the team has compiled a respectable 11-5-1 record.
The team is bigger than Savard, but it can be inferred that his return would make the team even better. Savard was the team's leading scorer for three straight seasons between 2006 and 2009. He has also led all Bruins forwards in average time on ice for the past three seasons. He is a player that Claude Julien has depended on in the past, and is a legitimate NHL superstar.
The original concussion was suffered in March, when the Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cooke hit Savard from behind, forcing Savard to miss the final eighteen games of the regular season, and the first round of the playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres.
Savard returned in the second round against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he was a non-factor for the most part (outside of his game-winning goal in overtime of Game 1) with three points in seven games.
As training camp was getting started, Savard complained of the typical post-concussion symptoms: headaches, nausea, depression and dizziness. He was taken off the ice immediately, and met with team doctors, who declared that he was unable to play.
Savard also admitted that he probably shouldn't have been playing at all last season after suffering the concussion.
”I had huge fatigue problems during [the Flyer] series,'' he said in a September press conference. ''Especially when [David Krejci] got hurt…I think it was Game 4 that I played 27 minutes. I pretty much should have been sitting [in the press box] after that….I didn’t have anything left.”
It would be ridiculous for the Bruins to rush Marc Savard back—this is a concussion we're talking about. However, his return to full-health is going to be crucial for the Bruins.
Although, as the case was with Patrice Bergeron, it may not be a couple of years until the Savard of old is back on the ice.