WILMINGTON, Mass. --
From the sounds of it, Marc Savard
's odyssey will soon find him back at home in TD Garden.
"This morning he passed one of the tests. It's a conditioning test, so he's able to practice with the team. Non-contact," said Chiarelli. "So he’s able to practice with the team non-contact and...he will do line drills and non-contact drills.
"So that’s good news."
It is good news for the Bruins and New England's hockey fans, who have looked forward to the return of the all-star center who was concussed last season.
"He’s got a couple more tests to do," explained Chiarelli when asked when contact will be on the agenda. "They are going to take place next week and after that he will be able to do contact.
Chiarelli, who said that Savard will join the team on the road, was asked if he had a return date in mind for Savard.
"Yeah, I’ve got one in mind," he said. "I am not going to disclose it.
"Theses things change, right? It could be earlier, it could be later.
"So, this is a real big step and then the tests coming up are big steps, but he’s passed every test today and this was a big one also," said the GM.
With a light at the end of the tunnel, Chiarelli said it was exciting times for the Bruins.
"It’s very good news," he said. "If Marc [Savard] were to have his druthers he’d be back with the team two weeks ago; that’s what Marc [Savard]’s all about.
"You know we are in a crunch of games here, where it looks like we are in a compressed schedule again, but it’s good to get a player of his caliber back.
"This is a real positive step."
Chiarelli said that Savard is starting to look the part, too.
"His swagger’s back," said Chiarelli. "Each day he is getting [in] progressively better...mental and physical shape.
"He’s chomping at the bit."
And that's why the Bruins will move forward -- albeit, cautiously.
Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien spoke after Chiarelli.
"I think it's been encouraging news for everybody involved," he said. "It's been a long road for him to get to where he is right now, so you know, we'll continue to take it step-by-step because there are no guarantees.
"But it's certainly encouraging."