Marc Savard speaks out about dealing with post-concussion syndrome

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marcsavard5.jpgBoston Bruins star Marc Savard took time out this morning to speak with media about the lingering effects of post-concussion syndrome that he’s dealing with.  Savard being sidelined comes as a surprise to most fans because he returned to the Bruins lineup during the playoffs, yet now he’s not even skating with the team and there’s no timetable set for when he will return.

An anonymous report on Tuesday said that it was possible Savard could miss the season because of post-concussion syndrome, but the Bruins denied that and wanted to clear the air today. Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe gets the word on how bad off Marc Savard is.

”I think everything you just summed up there,” said Savard, when a Globe reporter asked if he were dealing with nausea, headache, dizziness, seeing spots, depression, among the more common issues related to concussions and often PCS. “I’ve had issues with everything so far, so….like I said, I have to see the doctors, get the help that I need and go from there.”

On follow-up, when asked which of the symptoms he finds hardest to deal with, Savard noted depression.

”Oh, probably the depression part,” he said, his tone noticeably somber, his emotions clearly stirred. ”That’s probably the toughest, so….that’s it.”

With that kind of laundry list of symptoms he’s still dealing with, the question then comes into play (at least it should) about whether or not he was dealing with these effects when he suited up against the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs last season. As it turns out, he most certainly was.

”I had huge fatigue problems during [the Flyer} series,” he said. ”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.”

In conversations with a doctor, said Savard, he was made aware again that head injuries differ dramatically from, say, a knee injury.

”I guess with your brain and your head,” said Savard, again noting what maybe was a premature return to the lineup in May, ”that probably wasn’t the best thing to do.”

Analyzing and diagnosing problems and other effects of post-concussion syndrome is a slowly evolving science and one that many physicians still aren’t totally sure about. That said, given how violent Savard’s injury was at the hands of Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke and given the severity of the injury itself (initially diagnosed as a Grade 2 concussion) more care should have been taken to ensure Savard’s well-being on the ice.

After all, it was just over a month of action that Savard missed and while in our minds that seems like a fair amount of time to be out, the pressure of wanting to help your team in the playoffs coupled with the desire to get back on the ice anyhow can cloud everyone’s better judgment.

The latest updates from Savard on how he’s doing should be a warning flag for physicians that they need to better evaluate their means of making sure a player is cleared to play again because this only makes us look back on the decision on clearing him to play look extremely reckless.

The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)

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Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

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After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

Wow.

With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.

Canadiens sound a lot like Wild after playoff exit (without ‘better team’ talk)

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Much like the Minnesota Wild earlier on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens are stunned to approach the golf courses so rapidly.

Many of the responses after the New York Rangers eliminated them in Game 6 sound a lot like what the Wild uttered, though there’s no potential bulletin board material like Bruce Boudreau’s line about the better team failing to win four games.

Max Pacioretty viewed this early exit as a “missed opportunity” and never really believed that an elimination was coming.

Claude Julien provided parallel comments to Bruce Boudreau, believing that Montreal generated chances but lacked “finish.”

Brendan Gallagher? He worries that this might have been the Canadiens’ best chance, something the Wild must also worry about with a difficult offseason ahead.

Now, it’s likely that most teams speak about being shocked and expecting better after being booted from the postseason.

Still, these reactions do shine a light on the staggering nature of some of these exits. Will the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Wild struggle to be in such prime positions in the future? With the Sharks needing a comeback against the Oilers, could the trend continue on Saturday?

The bottom line is that, instead of preparing for a Game 7 after winning the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens are packing up their stuff and worrying about re-signing Carey Price. That’s a pretty stunning turnaround, regardless of the soundbytes available.

Video: Draisaitl, Slepyshev score on breakaways, Talbot spurns Marleau

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Some playoff games or even series come down to something as stupidly simple as one team taking advantage of their opportunities while the other fails to capitalize on chances.

If Game 6 of the Oilers – Sharks series follows the story of the second period, then San Jose may join Saturday’s stream of eliminated teams.

It’s not fair to boil it down to three breakaways, but some might feel that way.

Leon Draisaitl looked like a gritty, strong veteran during his first career playoff goal, bulling his way to the net for 1-0 breakaway tally. About a minute later, Anton Slepyshev was even more alone against Martin Jones, and he scored his first postseason goal to make it 2-0.

That stings for the Sharks, and it doesn’t help that they had a similar chance not long after. This time around, Patrick Marleau couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, so it remained 2-0 for Edmonton.

That’s the same score as the game enters the third period, even with some dangerous late chances for the Sharks.

If the Sharks don’t score at least two goals in the third, their push to return to the Stanley Cup Final could end in the first round.