Boston Bruins 2011-12: It's Time for Marc Savard and the Team to Move on

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent ISeptember 1, 2011

BOSTON - MAY 01:  Marc Savard #91 of the Boston Bruins salutes the cheering fans after the game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Flyers 5-4 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Marc Savard won't play for the Boston Bruins this season, according to The Boston Globe, and in light of his ongoing concussion issues, it's time for Savard to end his career as an NHL player.

Since getting hit along the boards on January 22 in Colorado by former teammate Matt Hunwick, Savard has not played in an NHL game, and likely never will again.

“Marc Savard won’t play this year,” said GM Peter Chiarelli via Boston.com. “Nothing has changed in our monitoring. He’ll be examined and he’ll be declared unfit to play.”

Chiarelli went further to speculate that Savard's career may be over.

“Based on what I see, what I hear, what I read and what I’m told, it’s very unlikely Marc will play again,” Chiarelli said. “Now, knowing the uncertainty of this injury, there’s always a chance [he could play]. But based on what I’m told, it’s very unlikely he’ll play. As an employer, I support him and hope he gets back to living a healthy life.”

Savard has missed 98 regular season games the past two seasons. He led the Bruins with 63 assists and 88 points in 2008-09, a season in which he played all 82 games. 

Retiring from the sport you've loved and played since you were a kid is immensely difficult, and having to walk away because of injury and not because of age or inability makes it even harder.

But Savard needs to protect his long-term health. Concussions, like any health problem affecting the brain, are nothing to fool with.

Savard will never be the same all-star caliber player if he ever returns to pro hockey. He will be constantly looking over his shoulder and playing in a passive way, as he should be.

But that's no way to play the game, and it's better for the Bruins and Savard that he retire and allow himself and the team to move on.

His attempts to come back and help the Bruins win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years were true acts of courage, bravery and dedication. That's all you can ask for as a fan.

We must not forget about Savard's impact on this past year's Stanley Cup-winning team.

Savard, like Zdeno Chara, were the building blocks to making the Bruins a respectable franchise again after the disastrous teams following the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

He played a huge part in getting the Bruins where they are today, and it is very likely, if not a certainty, that he will have his name engraved on the Cup even though he did not meet the games played requirement.

Outside of his contributions to the Bruins, Savard's impact on hockey will forever live on.

The rules changes and efforts the league has made to limit the amount of vicious head injuries are a result of Savard's unfortunate situation.

The game is safer now, and will become even more safe as the years go on. The NHL knows it has to take concussions seriously or it will lose its stars like Savard and Sidney Crosby way before their careers should have ended.

Bruins nation wishes Marc Savard the best of luck in his life after hockey, and will always remember the effort and passion he displayed wearing the black and gold spoked "B" sweater.

Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Follow him on Twitter for Bruins and NHL news and analysis.