Boston Bruins easing Marc Savard into lineup

Thumbnail image for Savard3.jpgIt seems more and more likely that Marc Savard is going to return to the Boston Bruins during the second round, which bothers the inner-worried-mother in me. Still, he’s a hockey player and needs to help his team. The Bruins are being cautious about integrating Savard into their lineup as he starts to get his legs back, The Boston Globe reports.

Because of his layoff, Savard will not see the workload (18:34 of average ice time per game in the regular season) he assumed prior to his concussion. Given the perfection of the penalty kill against the Sabres, it’s a good bet that Savard will not see much shorthanded ice time.

“We’ve got to careful that we don’t think that all of a sudden, Marc Savard’s going to come in and control everything,” Julien said. “He hasn’t played in two months. So let’s understand that he’s going to need some time. We’re going to make sure that again, we give him that opportunity to better himself as we move along. You’ve got a great player coming into your lineup. But you’ve got a great player who hasn’t played in two months who’s stepping into the second round of the playoffs. Cautious is certainly something we have to be when it comes to that and not put too much on his plate. We’ll give him a chance to get better here properly.”

Today, for the first time, Savard participated in power-play drills, serving as the quarterback on the No. 2 unit. The coaching staff will not touch the top unit (Zdeno Chara, Matt Hunwick, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi), which performed well against Buffalo as Krejci worked the left-side half-wall.

Maybe it’s because I’ve simply read too many horror stories on the subject, but I’m weary of rushing a player back from something as serious as a concussion. It’s not exactly as if the Philadelphia Flyers are going to give him the “excuse me, pardon me” treatment, right?

Regardless, I wish Savard the best. He’s a gifted player who deserves to ply his craft.

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    NHL on NBC Doubleheader: Rangers vs. Bruins; ‘Hawks vs. Ducks

    Rick Nash, Ryan Spooner
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    After a break in the schedule on Thursday, the NHL is back with a full slate of games on Friday.

    It all gets underway at 1:00 p.m. ET when the Rangers take on the Bruins on NBC.

    Boston is coming off a 3-2 OT win over Detroit on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to four games.

    Although backup Jonas Gustavsson has been between the pipes for two of the four wins, there’s no denying that Tuukka Rask‘s improved play is a big reason for Boston’s turnaround.

    The 28-year-old is 4-2-0 in his last six starts and he’s given up 13 goals (five came in one game against the Sharks) during that span.

    The Bruins have won each of their last two home games, but are still just 4-6-1 at the TD Garden this season.

    New York didn’t go into the Thanksgiving break the way they had hoped.

    The Rangers are coming off a 5-1 loss, on home ice, to the Montreal Canadiens.

    Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for the first time all season after he allowed five goals on 24 shots.

    The 33-year-old’s rough outing was presumably just a blip on the radar, as he comes into this game with a 12-4-2 record, a 1.94 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage.

    New York currently sits atop the Metropolitan division with 34 points.

    At 5:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN will broadcast the rematch of last year’s Western Conference final between the Ducks and ‘Hawks.

    After a brutal month of October that saw them win just one of their 10 games, the Ducks have been slightly better in November.

    Anaheim opened the month with a four-game winning streak only to drop their following three games. They’ve alternated wins and losses in their last eight contests.

    Ryan Getzlaf has six points in his last two games (all assists), but it’s clear that the Ducks need more from him.

    The 30-year-old has always been a pass-first player, but one goal in 19 games just isn’t cutting it.

    A guy who’s having no trouble finding the back of the net is ‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane.

    The 27-year-old comes into this game with 13 goals and 34 points in 22 games in ’15-16.

    He’s riding a 17-game point streak and has found his name on the scoresheet in all but two games this season.

    Chicago currently sits in fourth place in the Central division.


    New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 1 p.m. ET, NBC

    Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks, 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN

    For online viewing information via NBC Sports’ Live Extra, click here.

    PHT Morning Skate: General Managers around the league are happy for Bergevin

    Marc Bergevin
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    The Montreal Canadiens gave Marc Bergevin a contract extension on Wednesday and fellow General Managers around the league are happy for their colleague. (TSN)

    Are the Washington Capitals the best team in the Eastern Conference? (ESPN)

    Here’s a funny cartoon depiction of the reported feud between Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby:

    Read an excerpt from Tie Domi’s book “shift work”. In this portion of the book, he talks about some crazy times at a New York City nightclub. (ESPN)

    “It’s a lot more complicated than the net and the goalie equipment, it’s the systems that teams play, the willingness of players to block shots every part of their body.” Steven Stamkos weighs in on the decreasing number of goals in the NHL. (Tampa Tribune)

    After the first quarter of the season, Henrik Lundqvist is’s favorite to land the Vezina Trophy. (

    Matt Beleskey donated 400 pies to various charitable organizations around Boston.

    Preds place Salomaki on IR, recall Sissons

    Jake Allen, Miikka Salomaki
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    Nashville made a minor roster transaction on Thursday, putting forward Miikka Salomaki on IR while recalling fellow forward Colton Sissons from AHL Milwaukee.

    Salomaki, 22, was a fairly regular lineup presence through the of November, appearing in eight games while averaging just under 12 minutes per night. Despite his relatively small frame (5-foot-11, 198 pounds), he racked up 28 hits over that time and emerged as a decent energy guy for the Preds.

    As for Sissons, he’s about to get yet another crack with the parent club.

    Having spent most of the last two seasons in Milwaukee, Sissons — the 50th overall pick in 2012 — has seen some action with the Preds this year. He has one goal in five games with Nashville, and eight points in 12 games with the Admirals.

    Oilers say McDavid ‘ahead of schedule’ in broken clavicle recovery

    Connor McDavid
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    There hasn’t been much good news for the Oilers lately — Connor McDavid‘s hurt, Nail Yakupov‘s hurt, they’ve lost seven of their last nine — so what GM Peter Chiarelli had to say on Thursday qualified as very welcome news.

    “He’s ahead of schedule,” Chiarelli said of Connor McDavid and his broken clavicle, per Sportsnet. “He’s been in the pool, been lifting weights… There are no soft tissue injuries, which is important.

    “When you get a break like that, oftentimes there is accompanying soft tissue injuries. That slows down the recovery.”

    McDavid, who suffered the injury on Nov. 3 against Philly, was originally supposed to be sidelined until early March. But per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, there’s cautious optimism the star rookie could be back in the Edmonton lineup by “mid-to-late January.”

    But even with that cautious optimism, there’s still a long way to go.

    McDavid has yet to resume skating and is still at his parents’ home in Newmarket, Ontario. That said, he’s expected to join Edmonton soon — when the Oilers take on the Leafs in Toronto on Monday — and, according to Chiarelli, will want to get back onto the ice way sooner than expected.

    “I can tell you that when it comes time,” he said, “[McDavid] is going to want to come back a lot earlier than what we forecast internally.”