Morning Skate: Hold off on the Calder Trophy to Keller just yet


Morning Skate: Hold off on the Calder Trophy to Keller just yet

TORONTO – Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while drinking a Tim Horton’s double-double coffee. Amen to that, Canada.

*So, the Hockey News is basically already giving the Calder Trophy to Arizona’s Clayton Keller a month into the season. I think we might want to wait a few more months before we crowd the kid as the rookie of the year, as good as he’s been. Let’s not forget that Charlie McAvoy is the only NHL rookie that’s averaging north of 20 minutes of ice time per game, and is putting up good offensive numbers amid an offense that is clearly missing many of their big guns. Keller is good, but we’re not talking about Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid here, and come to think of it McDavid didn’t even win the Calder his rookie year either after getting taken out with an injury. Rookies like Brock Boeser, Mathew Barzal or D-man Mikhail Sergachev are certainly in the discussion as well, and get just as hot as Keller did in the season’s first month. So let’s get to the halfway point of the season, at the least, before we start breathlessly bestowing awards on NHL players, shall we?

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos is among a number of very rich people reportedly caught in a bit of an off-shore investment scandal that blew up this week.

*Anthony Stewart and Chris Stewart get some TV time with their dad to talk about their hockey upbringing, and what’s made them the players they were, and are, in the NHL.

*Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec are spearheading the turnaround for the Montreal Canadiens after their dreadful start.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Paul Dupont was up bright and early this morning talking Hockey Hall of Famer Jeremy Jacobs with the folks over at Sirius/XM NHL.

*Daniel Alfredsson might have exited his past role with the Ottawa Senators, but he hasn’t ruled out a return to hockey in some form or fashion.

*For something completely different: John Lackey isn’t going to retire, so he’ll still get to see the slack-jawed yokel on the pitcher’s mound again next season. Yay.


McAvoy 'doing fine and in good spirits' after heart procedure


McAvoy 'doing fine and in good spirits' after heart procedure

BRIGHTON, Mass – At some point in the next couple of days, 20-year-old Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy will be ready to talk about the past couple of months that led to the procedure he had this week to deal with an abnormal heart rhythm.

The good news is that the ablation procedure went well Monday at Mass General Hospital and that McAvoy was released on Tuesday morning with the expectation he’ll be able to return in a couple of weeks. The young D-man has definitely been ruled out for games this week prior to the NHL All-Star break and may miss a couple more when the regular-season convenes again next week. Still, the good thing is that he’s healthy and recuperating.


“He’s doing very well...everything went very well,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Our concern as an organization is obviously his health moving forward. That’s the No. 1 priority and he’s doing terrific, and we’ll see how his recovery goes from there.”

Longtime Boston University and Bruins teammate Matt Grzelcyk said he’s traded some texts with McAvoy the past couple of days and fellow D-man Brandon Carlo said he offered to pick up a few things up at Whole Foods while McAvoy's on the mend.

“I just texted with him to make sure he was doing okay, and he was in good spirits,” said Grzelcyk. “He’s doing well and it was good to be able to talk to him. Obviously, it’s pretty scary when you hear about it, but I’m not really too sure what is going on. I just wanted to make sure he was doing well and that he’s not too down on himself, or anything like that.

“He’s doing fine and I know he’s healthy. He’s been one of my closest friends for a while now and it’s obviously a little scarier when it’s your heart as opposed to being a shoulder or a knee injury. It’s tough, but I think he’ll come out stronger because of it. Charlie has played so many games for a while now and not had anything creep up on him. He’s such a big, strong kid. It’s tough that he’s going to have to miss time. It’s something he definitely doesn’t want to do, but we’ve just got to step up as best we can as a team.”

Clearly, the important aspect of this entire situation is that McAvoy is healthy and ready to resume his life as one of the best young defensemen on the planet when the time is right. Still, it certainly felt like it also served as a reminder to many of his young, talented Bruins teammates that good health is a precious thing for everybody.

“At first, it makes your heart drop a little bit, but then you find out a little bit more about what it is and it’s not too severe in a way. Ultimately, when you hear that it’s going to be okay, with the training staff we have here, it’s very reassuring,” said Carlo. “In that game on Nov. 26 when he was feeling it he didn’t show any signs of slowing down. That’s pretty crazy that a guy like that could seem like he’s almost having a heart attack and still play 23 minutes a night. He’s a pretty special guy to handle the minutes he does and we’ll see that for a long time from him.”

The Bruins indicated that McAvoy, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and doctors will hold an availability to discuss McAvoy’s supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) condition and the procedure in the near future when McAvoy is feeling up to the task. 



Marc Savard officially retires from NHL seven years after last game


Marc Savard officially retires from NHL seven years after last game

It was a foregone conclusion because he hadn’t played an NHL game in seven years since suffering a final concussion whole playing for the Bruins, but Marc Savard called it a career on Monday by officially retiring from the NHL.

Savard played 13 NHL seasons for four different teams and was one of two heralded free agents to sign with the Bruins in 2006 along with defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Savard effectively had his career ended by a nasty head shot delivered by Penguins cheap shot artist Matt Cooke in the spring of 2010, but came back to play 25 games in 2010-11 for Boston the following season.

A Matt Hunwick hit delivered afterwards in Colorado was the final blow.

It was the Cooke hit on Savard that spurred the NHL on the very next season to finally begin outlawing blindside hits and any kind of illegal hits targeting the head.

Savard still had his name included among the Bruins immortalized on the Stanley Cup when the B’s won it in 2011, and was forced to prolong his retirement announcement due to the seven year, $28.15 million contract extension he signed with Boston back in 2009. His contract was included in trades with the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils over the last few seasons, but it officially expired at the end of last season.

So the 40-year-old Savard officially announced his retirement on his twitter account: “While I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to play since January 2011 after suffering a career-ending concussion, and with my NHL contract recently expiring, I’d like to officially announce my retirement from the National Hockey League. I wish to thank the New York Rangers, the Calgary Flames, the Atlanta Thrashers and the Boston Bruins organizations for giving me the opportunity to play in the NHL for 13 incredible seasons. I owe everything that my family and I enjoy today to the great game of hockey. It has been a wild and wonderful journey, and one I’ll remember forever. It is impossible for me to give credit to all of the people who have contributed in so many ways to my career, but to those that believed in me, and helped me believe in myself, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I believe I can make a positive impact in the world. I love hockey, and I will forever have a passion for this game. I look forward to the chances I may have to give back to the game that has given me so much. I’ve learned a thing or two from some great people throughout my career and life, and I look forward to a chance to pass that along to others. This is not an easy thing for me to put down into words, but I feel as though I’m ready now for the next chapter in my life to begin. Also, last but not least my health is the best it’s been in a very long time and I’m grateful for that.”

The best news for Bruins fans and any fans of Savard is that many of the post-concussion symptoms appear to have lessened, or disappeared, over the years away from the ice. Savard coached his sons at the junior level in Canada once he stepped away from playing, and it sounds like he’s feeling good enough now to purse the coaching thing with a little more fervor.

“I think the biggest thing is that I’m happy where I am in my life,” said Savard to “I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a long time. I didn’t want it to linger on any more. My contract is up and I wanted to get it out there and head off in a different direction to pursue a coaching career.”

Savard finished with 207 goals and 706 points in 807 games during his NHL career, but there’s no telling what those final numbers could have been given his offensive skills, his creativity and his place on a Bruins team just beginning to get rolling offensively. Those high-flying days were a long time ago for Savard, however, and it’s good to hear that he’s simply healthy and very much looking forward to the next steps in his life.