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.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?