Marc Savard, Peter Chiarelli

Report: Training camp looks unlikely for Marc Savard, whose concussion issues continue


Thanks to strong work down the middle from the likes of David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley, the Boston Bruins were able to win the 2011 Stanley Cup without star center Marc Savard. While it’s unclear if the concussion-wracked forward will get his name on the Cup, he will enjoy a day with the silver chalice on Monday.

The bigger question is: when will he enjoy a few days without concussion symptoms? The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa provides an update on Savard’s condition from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that really isn’t much of an update at all: not much has changed. He’s still dealing with headaches related to post-concussion syndrome. Shinzawa reports that the gifted playmaker won’t participate in Bruins training camp in September unless there is “an immediate turnaround in his condition.”

Once again, you have to wonder if Savard’s career will sadly be cut short. He suffered two concussions in a dangerously close span to get to this point. The first was probably the biggest, as Matt Cooke devastated him with a highly controversial check in March 2010 while former Bruin Matt Hunwick’s hit gave him another concussion in January 2011. Savard hasn’t played since and there’s reason to believe that he won’t play again.

Things just haven’t been right the last two seasons, with Savard scoring just 10 points in 25 games in 2010-11 and 33 in 41 during the 09-10 campaign. The four prior seasons showed what the sublime passer can be capable of with strong linemates and good health, though. Savard scored 97 points in his last season with Atlanta then continued to light up the league with the Bruins, scoring 96 in 06-07, 78 in 07-08 and 88 in 08-09.

As sad as it would be to see a talented player hang up his skates too soon, it might end up being the best thing for Savard as a person. It seemed like he paid the price for a hasty return with that Hunwick concussion, although maybe it was another case of bad luck.

Hopefully Savard enjoys his day with the Cup and eventually a clean bill of health, whether that means the end of his playing days or not.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
1 Comment

Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
1 Comment

Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen