Bruins

Talking Points: Rangers make Bruins pay for penalties

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Talking Points: Rangers make Bruins pay for penalties

GOLD STAR: King Henrik Lundqvist has pretty solid career numbers against the Bruins, and has enjoyed some very good games against the Black and Gold over the years. King Henrik’s Saturday night was more of the same with 33 saves in the overtime win, including a number in spots where the Bruins began to get decent pressure on the New York net. Lundqvist did allow a power play goal in the third period to allow the Bruins to force an overtime, but he also stopped 15 shots in the third period to make certain that the Bruins didn’t get any more in the final 20 minutes. It was all there: The flashy glove save attempts, the quick reaction saves going post-to-post and the solid play that forced the Bruins to actually beat him for everything they got.

BLACK EYE: You’ve got to put this one on the Bruins bench for taking a couple of too many men on the ice penalties at tough moments in the game. The first wiped out a Bruins power play late in the third period that might have given Boston a chance to end things in regulation, and the second was in the 3-on-3 OT during a moment of chaos as gassed Bruins players were attempting to come off the ice during a Rangers rush. Instead, it was a too many men on the ice penalty again, and this time it was Mats Zuccarello that made the Bruins pay with a game-winning PP strike through a Chris Kreider screen in front of Tuukka Rask. Bruce Cassidy said the B’s simply tried to get away with one in the overtime, but they were caught on a night when Boston had way too many mistakes to actually win the game.

TURNING POINT: An early turning point for the Bruins could have changed the game in their favor when Ryan Spooner had a goal overturned very early in the first period. Jake DeBrusk was offside as David Krejci entered the zone with the puck just prior to the goal, and the Rangers bench quickly and successfully challenged the play directly afterward. Given that the Rangers have played a busy schedule as of late, the Bruins believed they could have really put a lot of pressure on the Blueshirts if they could have taken an early lead. Instead, the Bruins fell behind by a two-goal deficit, and were once again playing catch-up hockey before finally falling in overtime.    

HONORABLE MENTION: Danton Heinen continues to play well for the Bruins, and has essentially been given a vote of confidence by the Bruins with the assignment of Matt Beleskey to the minor leagues. Heinen scored his seventh goal of the season when he stood in front of the net and tipped home a Zdeno Chara point shot in the second period that finally got the B’s offense going. Heinen finished with four shots on net and six shot attempts in his 15:25 of ice time, and is actually tied with Patrice Bergeron for third in the Bruins in goals after potting his seventh of the season. It’s a really good sign as well when a young guy like Heinen isn’t afraid to hang around in the shooting lanes for tips and redirections when a big shooter like Chara winds up and blasts away.

BY THE NUMBERS: 22 – the number of giveaways the Bruins in the overtime loss to the Rangers where they consistently mismanaged the puck, turning things over to the Blueshirts on a regular basis. Brad Marchand led the B’s with four giveaways, but Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk were just behind him with three of their own.  

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “There were problems getting into the zone and there were problems in the zone…there were problems. We struggled on the power play. We’re not going to hide from that, but it got us a goal later, so we eventually kind of got it squared away. But we certainly had opportunities early to take advantage and we didn’t.” – Bruce Cassidy, talking about a Bruins power play that went 1-for-7 in the loss with just six total shots on net. 

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Marc Savard officially retires from NHL seven years after last game

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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 NHLPA.com. “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.  

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McAvoy undergoes procedure for 'abnormal heart rhythm'

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McAvoy undergoes procedure for 'abnormal heart rhythm'

BRIGHTON, Mass – As a workhorse 20-year-old hockey player, it wasn’t much of a warning signal when Charlie McAvoy missed Monday’s Bruins practice with what the team initially called “a doctor’s appointment.” But it turned out to be a fairly serious absence as the Bruins announced later in the afternoon that their prized rookie is going to miss roughly two weeks after undergoing a procedure at Mass General Hospital to address an abnormal heart rhythm. 

According to the Bruins statement: “After the Nov. 26 game, Charlie told team physicians that he experienced heart palpitations during the game. Subsequently he underwent an evaluation, which diagnosed him with a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The type of SVT Charlie has is not considered to be dangerous to his health but can recur at any time and causes significant symptoms.”

After consulting with a multitude of doctors, McAvoy and the Bruins opted for the procedure because of the high likelihood of the condition’s recurrence. McAvoy will spend the night at Mass General, and is expected to return to the lineup in a couple of weeks. 

The timing of McAvoy’s procedure around the NHL All-Star break means he’ll miss fewer games than he might have otherwise, but it also means the 20-year-old is obviously out of the running to be a replacement for the injured Victor Hedman on the Atlantic Division squad. At this point it’s just good news that the B’s prized young rookie is going to be okay by all accounts, and that the team was able to catch the condition early on with McAvoy’s entire career in front of him. 

The 20-year-old McAvoy has been one of the best rookies in the entire NHL this season with five goals and 25 points in 45 games along with a plus-18 rating, and the B’s D-man also leads all NHL rookies by a wide margin with 22:49 of ice time per game. 

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