BOSTON, MA –
Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard
has played for five different teams in the NHL, but it's the TD Garden that he calls his home away from home. Before his team's game against the New York Rangers, No. 91 returned to address the media for the first time since Feb. 2, 2011.
Since Thursday, January 12 and continuing through the end of the 2013-14 Bruins season, Savard will host a luxury suite at the TD Garden for patients from Children's Hospital Boston that are suffering from the effects of head trauma.
"At this time, I'd like to do something for Boston because they've been so great to me," Savard said. "I just felt that I know what these kids are going through in some departments. [I saw] Children's Hospital, the head trauma department, and I just saw that this was something minor that I could do to put a smile on their face and their parents' and stop in a couple times a year to say hi."
Savard, who attended the game against the Rangers, said he's feeling better and enjoys the time he is spending with his family.
He enjoys helping coach his 11-year-old son Zachary who plays a AAA team, as well as watching his 8-year-old son Tyler.
"I'm doing good – I'm feeling better," Savard said. "I have my days still, but I'm doing a lot better.
"I'm happy. I'm with my family and with my kids and going to watch them play hockey and getting a whole different side of life. Watching the parents, too, in minor hockey is quite special. It's a whole learning experience for myself.
While his boys are skating on the ice, his 10-year-old daughter Isabella is busy in the dance studio.
"We're keeping her away from the ice," Savard joked.
Through coaching, Savard said he thinks the younger kids are starting to understand the dangers of hits to the head. Although it's a slow process, Savard said it's coming a long way.
"We've got a lot of kids on our team, including my son, who's a big boy, my oldest boy, and I remember getting in the car with him one night and saying, like, ‘Come on, son, you've got to take that hit on the boards to make a play,' and I said to him that it doesn't hurt, and he said to me, ‘Well, Dad, look what happened to you,'" Savard said.
"The kids are learning, that's for sure. I see some situations, when they cut into the middle, and, you know, like I did, and I worry about them. But a lot of our practices and stuff, we're trying to get them to learn to take the puck wide and all the little things to protect themselves when getting hit."
Savard, who hasn't skated since Jan. 22, 2011 against Colorado, said some days are tougher than others when he thinks about getting back on the ice. But nonetheless, he's in good spirits.
"I'm really enjoying life. I think, like I said, I'm really happy, and happy to be here today," Savard said. "I don't have any hard feelings about anything.
"I'm on the Stanley Cup, I got a ring, and a lot of credit to Peter Chiarelli and the organization for doing that for me. That was unexpected but very nice."
Looking back at his career, Savard reflected on some of his best moments with the organization.
"I think really my favorite when I wasn't even wearing the sweater was when they won the Stanley Cup," Savard told bostonbruinsTV. "But for myself, coming back from through what I went through and being able to score the overtime winner against Philadelphia [in the playoffs].
And although Savard is not on the ice, he still gets plenty of support from the fans.
"Yeah I get a lot of mail from people saying I'm still a Bruin and they love me and I appreciate that stuff," he added. "If I were to pick any place as home other than we're I'm at, it's Boston for sure.
"I loved playing here and I'll keep coming back to visit that's for sure."---Anthony Gulizia