After leaving Saturday’s game against the Avalanche, Marc Savard’s 2010-11 season has taken another dramatic turn.
As first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie on twitter, Savard is out indefinitely after suffering another concussion; this time coming from the hands of Avs defenseman and former teammate, Matt Hunwick.
Savard was evaluated earlier today by team doctors.
“After being examined by the Bruins medical staff today, Marc has been diagnosed with a moderate concussion,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli in a statement on the Bruins website. “There is no timetable for his return and no further updates at this time.”
While Savvy is certainly not the caliber player he once was prior to the Grade 2 Concussion he sustained last year from a cheap shot by Penguins forward Matt Cooke, the veteran center was slowly starting to find his game back on the ice. But with another setback, there’s some question on whether or not Savard should hang up the skates, but that’s another story for later.
In the five games before his injury, Savvy had four assists and the Bruins offense was clicking on many cylinders moving up to the top five in scoring with 3.10 goals per game. But while the Bruins have a well balanced offense — ten players with 20-plus points and eight players with 10-plus goals — they will still need someone to fill the void left by Savard.
Patrice Bergeron (16-23-39) has been one of the Bruins’ best offensive players the past couple weeks and Milan Lucic (19-13-32) just had an impressive week scoring three goals after coming back from an upper-body injury. But with Savvy out of the lineup, defenses will put more emphasis on shutting down Bergeron and Lucic, who are currently the team’s two best offensive weapons.
While Bergeron and Lucic have provided a spark lately, there are other forwards who will need to step their game up a little bit with Savvy out of the lineup, including Nathan Horton.
Coming via trade from Florida along with Gregory Campbell, Horton provided a big boost to the Bruins in the early part of the season with five goals during the month of October, including three goals during the team’s trip to Prague. Since then, however, Horton has suffered through a major cold spell and has not recorded a goal in the last eight games since his tally on January 3rd in Toronto. Before that he had a nine game scoreless streak going.
But while Horton has certainly seen his share of struggles, this injury oddly enough could turn out to be a blessing in disguise if he reunites with Lucic and David Krejci on the Bruins’ top scoring line. Horton’s early success came when he was put on this trio, but the same couldn’t really be said when he was paired with Savvy during the past couple of months.
Horton has also had pretty good success this year when he is paired with Bergeron, but right now it would be difficult to break up Bergy’s line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand. Since the Bruins’ game against Montreal on January 8th — when the line was reunited — the trio have combined for 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) and have provided a much needed boost that the team was lacking prior to its recent hot streak. There might come a time where Horton reunites with Bergy, but not for now.
While Krejci and Bergeron will move up to the first and second line, and with Campbell securing his role at center on the “Merlot Line”, the curious question about who will fill the void on the third line remains for the time being. One thing that is for certain is that the person filling that third line center role will either be Tyler Seguin or Blake Wheeler.
Unlike some teams in the league, the Bruins haven’t been too damaged by the injury bug. Lucic and defenseman Mark Stuart have picked up right where they left off since coming back from their injuries, but the recent injury to Savard is a setback.
Nothing is certain about if or when Savard’s return to the ice and now is not the time to speculate. The bigger picture right now is how the team responds and fills the void.