‘I just miss the competition’: Marc Savard discusses the abrupt ending of his playing career

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After a few years away from the game, Marc Savard is back in hockey.

Savard, who was forced to step away from the NHL at 33 years old because of concussions, is now coaching his son’s bantam hockey team in Peterborough, Ontario.

He says he’s feeling better (he still has short-term memory loss and anxiety), and although he’s enjoying his new role in hockey, there’s no doubt that he misses competing at the highest level.

“I’m 39,” Savard said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “I still should be playing, right? I miss it. I was an intense player when I played. I just miss the competition.”

Most people will remember this hit that Matt Cooke delivered on Savard back in 2010. Even though he was able to return to action after that, it still led to a pretty dark time in his life.

“That’s the main one, because I never felt like that in my life,’’ Savard said. “I’ve had concussions; I remember in Calgary I slept for a week straight. But the one from Cooke was a nightmare. I went through a lot of dark days there. For a good three months I was a zombie.”

It was the concussion he suffered 10 months later, against Colorado, that ended his career for good. Even though it was the final blow for him, Savard can admit that the hit by Matt Hunwick was far from dirty.

While he was down on the ice that night, Savard admitted that he was afraid because his eyes were wide open, but he couldn’t see anything.

Savard is still under contract to the New Jersey Devils and the 2016-17 season is the final year of his last NHL deal. Because he’s been on long-term IR since 2011, his rights have been traded a number of times to teams looking to take on an additional cap hit.

Once his contract with the Devils officially comes to an end, Savard says he has his heart set on retiring as a Bruin.