By: Adam Gretz
Boston Bruins center Marc Savard hasn't played in an NHL game since Jan. 22 -- and has appeared in just 32 games since March of 2010 -- due to a pair of concussions he's suffered over the past two seasons. According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, the 34-year-old forward is still experiencing headaches as a result of the head injuries, and barring a sudden change in his condition is unlikely to participate in training camp for this upcoming season.
Given the severity of the injuries and the fact he's now in his mid-30's, you at least have to entertain the possibility that this could cut his career short, or at the very least limit his ability and production when he does finally return to the ice. And just as a point of reference, Pat LaFontaine was only 32 when his career came to a premature end due to concussions, while Eric Lindros was just 33. That's not to say the situations are identical, or that Savard's problems are as severe as the ones LaFontaine and Lindros faced, but it's at least worth considering at this point.
Prior to the injuries he was one of the best playmaking centers in the NHL, finishing in the top-six in assists four times (including three times in the top-three) between 2005 and 2009. During a game against Pittsburgh late in the 2009-10 season, Savard was blindsided by Penguins forward Matt Cooke on a devastating hit to the head that ultimately helped lead to Rule 48, which made similar blindside hits to the head illegal. He didn't play another game during the regular season but was able to return for the playoffs where he tallied one goal -- an overtime game winner -- and two assists in seven games.
After appearing in just 25 games this past season, where his production had plummeted from his career norms, all the way down to just two goals and eight assists, Savard was on the receiving end of another brutal hit, this time into the glass, from Colorado's Matt Hunwick, resulting in his second concussion in less than nine months.