Can the Bruins survive without Marc Savard?


Savard6.jpgWe’ve talked here plenty about the trade rumors that have swirled around Bruins center Marc Savard and how this could work for the Bruins. The Bruins are searching for cap space and people have grumbled about how Savard is a bit of a handful to deal with in the locker room. But what about his presence on the ice?  He’s a high-scoring centerman on a team that can’t throw the puck in the ocean at times and lopping that off of any roster, especially one that struggles scoring, can make life more than difficult.

Sure the Bruins can win games by keeping the other team off the board just fine and skirting by with one or two goals, but is that something you really want to bank on doing game in and game out in the “new” NHL? Rory Boylen of The Hockey News doesn’t think so.

There are six teams whose best point-producer made less than Savard last season and was no higher than the fifth-highest paid player on the team: Derek Roy’s $4 million in Buffalo; Stephen Weiss’ $3.1 million in Florida; Mikko Koivu’s $3.25 million in Minnesota; Patric Hornqvist’s entry level salary in Nashville; Zach Parise’s $3.125 million in New Jersey; and Steven Stamkos’ $3.725 million in Tampa Bay.

With Hornqvist an RFA this off-season, Parise and Stamkos RFAs next off-season and Koivu set to be a UFA next summer as well, all the best players on this list will soon be making more than Savard, who won’t see a new contract until 2017. And would you take Roy or Weiss over ‘Savvy’? Heck no.

An interesting point made there for sure, but every single one of those players is younger than Savard. Sure, they’re paid less and likely due raises but they’d be worth it given that they’re anywhere from 23-27 years-old while Savard is 32. Paying $4 million for a player at the start of the peak of his career makes a lot more sense than it does for a guy that is 32 and coming off a very serious concussion.

Where Boylen doesn’t miss the mark is on how the Bruins lines set up with and without Savard. Without him in the lineup, things get a bit hairy.

Sturm – Savard – Horton
Lucic – Krejci – Recchi
Wheeler – Bergeron – Seguin

• Even without Wheeler, this top three looks tough.

Sturm – Krejci – Horton
Lucic – Bergeron – Recchi
Wheeler – Seguin – Ryder

Of course, Marco Sturm is out until at least November after suffering another severe knee injury in the playoffs. Blake Wheeler is an unsigned RFA and Mark Recchi is approximately the same age as Abraham Lincoln. The Bruins lineup without Savard (and without Sturm for two to three months) is startlingly iffy. The guy that could be the key here for an offensive punch is none other than 2010 first-round pick Tyler Seguin.

No pressure kid.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.