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Savard is Svelt, Savvy?

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Both Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara practiced on Monday in Wilmington.

Marc Savard looked ready for the season even as he cooled down after an informal practice Monday morning in Wilmington.

"I felt great," said the always-animated center. "My body weight is way down, so I feel quicker on my feet, so that's good.

"I told (assistant coach Doug Houda) that I am going to have some long shifts this year," added Savard, with a snicker.

The Black & Gold spark plug didn't stop there, either. Marc repeated, with real emphasis, something he had said previously to this summer.

"I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in -- in eight years," said Savard.

Despite being happy to be back on the ice, there is no doubt that the eight Bruins who showed up to pre-preseason practice know that they have their work cut out for them as the 2007-08 campaign commences.

Savard, who was joined by Andrew Alberts, Bobby Allen, Zdeno Chara, Matt Hunwick, Matt Lashoff, Mark Stuart, Nate Thompson and Tim Thomas, obviously believes that he can best the 96-point campaign he put together in 2006-07 and knows that he will be counted on for offensive production.

"I just wanted to get quicker on my feet," said Savard of his improved fitness regimen. "I'm getting older now. I just hit the big 3 - 0 and I think it's time to keep myself in good shape."

Savard admitted to feeling a little run down at the end of last season and said he looked to mitigate that eventuality during the summer. He started with a personal trainer and then added other components to his overall training mosaic.

"I want to play a lot of minutes," he said. "And you've got to be in good shape to play the big minutes…I got a nutritionist, too, so I ate really healthy and (B's conditioning coach John Whitesides) did a good job.

"He tracked me down over the summer to see how I was doing.

"My body fat is really good and everything feels tip top, so hopefully I (remain) injury free again and I can have a good run," Savard said.

Savard also believes that the team itself is in great shape, personnel wise. He pointed to some key signings and re-signings as evidence that the B's will not get pushed around this coming season.

"I think, as a team, we've gotten tougher," said Savard, "physically stronger.

"I don't know if we'll be the 'Big, Bad, Bruins' of old, but we'll be 'badder' than before."

According to Savard, two men figure heavily in that equation.

"(In juniors) we had a big rivalry," mused Savard. "I played Shawn Thornton all the time…I don't know if I ever heard him not talk.

"He was always chirping and (saying) Savard this and Savard (that)."

And Mr. Thornton, no doubt, could back up his words.

"He was always after the other team's good players," said Savard of his new teammate's techniques of agitation and protection. "He's going to help out that way, because you know, you need a guy like that."

And for a significant portion of last season, Jeremy Reich fit that policeman bill, as well.

"(He) did a great job with that last year," said Marc. "He earned his own contract and I think he's going to help out again.

"Guys know that he's willing to go anytime and it helps everyone out mentally," he said.

A 100-point season for Marc Savard wouldn't hurt anyone's mental state, either, and with a strong summer of work under his belt, Savvy is well on his way to filling that prescription for the Bruins.
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