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Savard Stops By

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
It's always nice to see a familiar face.

And it's pretty nice if that familiar face is attached to a person who scored 96-points last season for your favorite hockey team.

And it's especially nice if that familiar face, which scored 96 points for your favorite hockey team, is Marc Savard, because if "Savvy" could be boiled down to one word, that word is "entertaining."

Thankfully, the interns and I got to spend much of Wednesday afternoon with the Bruins version of "The Straw That Stirs the Drink" and we all came away feeling pretty good.

For one, Savard is a pretty funny guy and got some digs in on Mr. Bish, which made everyone, (besides me) laugh. Second, his return to the building yesterday means EVERYONE will be returning soon, and for this hockey junkie, the imminent arrival of training camp makes the changing weather and the soon-to-be-turning leaves that much easier to take -- sort of.

In any case, the forward seemed very excited to return to New England (permanent-like) in order to join the updated version of the Black & Gold and hit the Garden ice with purpose. But before then, Savard, a scratch golfer, will be playing in a prestigious tournament up north.

"Yah, it's been a good summer on the links," he said. "It's been a little (too) long to be honest with you.

"But I get to go to the Canadian Mid-Amateurs, which I qualified for, from August 21st to the 24th.

"I've been practicing hard for that," Savard said.

Marc explained that golf is a relatively recent development in his life, one that occurred because of professional ice hockey, and a little too much summer downtime.

"When I made the NHL it was my first time golfing," said Savard. "I was 20 years-old, we missed the playoffs, and that was the thing to do -- go golfing."

Golf did not seize his fancy immediately and knowing Savvy, it was the circumstances of being handed a golf club, having missed the hockey playoffs, which initially soured him on the game.

"It took me about a year to really fall in love with it," he said, "But ever since then…I have been a pretty steady player every summer."

Boston Bruins' Phil Kessel, Marc Savard, and Dennis Wideman, from left, celebrate. (AP Photo/H. Rumph, Jr.)
Savard explained that there is a different mindset to golf, one that he enjoys.

"In golf the pressure is all on you," he said. "It's a different kind of pressure (than hockey).

"But I love the feeling of tournament play and getting that feeling through the pressure situations."

And this coming season Savvy wants to test his mettle during hockey tournament play, and gives the impression that he has played enough golf. Through no fault of his own, as evidenced by his 155-342-497 line in 585 career games and his 97 and 96 points respectively over the last two seasons, Savard has never played an NHL playoff game.

"I look at our team on paper and it looks pretty solid," said a suddenly serious Savard, his trademark grin drawing short. "We're pretty deep, so we're excited for that.

"We picked up a great goalie (in Manny Fernandez) -- I got to play to against him a bit more being out west with Calgary.

"And obviously Peter Schaefer, a great solid veteran forward for many years," he said.

That being said, Savard knows that in order for the B's to progress toward a playoff berth, he and the other Bruins returnees need to play their best.

"I've gotten in great shape this summer," added Savard. "I feel very strong, and now that I am getting older, I have to be like that…but I just want to contribute every night and our goal at the end of the road is just to get into the playoffs.

"Whether we get into the eighth spot or the first spot, we just have to get into those playoffs. That's the team goal."

Savvy snippets…
·    Beyond getting a round or two in, Savard spent much of Wednesday in front of various cameras. He participated in photo shoots for the Bruins, the Garden and NESN.
·    "It was an interesting day," said the good natured and oft-posed Savard. "It was good for the team to get some TV time and it was fun."
·    For NESN, Savvy had several different actions to perform in front of a green screen: Looking into the camera and banging his hockey gloves together. A faux face off. A slap shot.

Oh by the way…
Speaking of golf, the 4th Annual Boston Bruins Golf Tournament is coming up.

This year's tournament is not to be missed: For the first time in its existence, the event will feature the ENTIRE roster of current Boston Bruins players, plus Boston Bruins Alumni!

So make plans to come out and hit the links with B's stars like Patrice Bergeron and tee-off with Marc Savard at one of the most beautiful courses in New England.

Bruins management & coaching staff, and other Boston celebrities will also be on hand. And don't miss the 19th hole which features silent and live auctions, raffles, and of course an all-star dinner!

Don't forget, space is limited for this popular annual event, so sign up today!

Volleyball Bruins Style
Former B's forward and current Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation, Bob Sweeney, and NESN SportsDesk anchor, Hazel Mae will take to the beach at Faneuil Hall on Thursday, August 16 to play in the Crocs Pro-Am event at 1 p.m.
Sweeney and Mae will compete against the AVP Crocs Tour sixth ranked team of Casey Jennings and Mark Williams.  The two are in town to participate in the Boston stop of the AVP Crocs Tour, taking place this weekend at Marina Bay.
Sweeney and Mae are obviously playing for bragging rights, but also for a good cause.  Crocs, Inc. will donate a total of $5,000 on their behalf to the charities of their choice. 
Admission is free so come on down to Quincy Market and cheer on Bob and Hazel!

WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon
As this space mentioned previously, the Bruins are proud to support the Jimmy Fund. Don't miss Phil Kessel at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, and Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs on Friday at 11:15 a.m.

The Bruins have also donated a number of items, which will be auctioned off during the radio/telethon.

If you are so able, please call in to donate to this very worthy cause.
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