I doubt that there is anyone in Boston (the US, Canada, North America, Earth, our solar system or the Milky Way) who loves playing hockey more than Marc Savard
And a few weeks ago in the dark of his room, when he was trying not to contemplate the horrific (concussion, nausea, retirement?) even Savvy himself couldn't draw up the Fisksonian feat he would accomplish in his comeback performance.
But as Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals versus the Philadelphia Flyers entered overtime after the Bruins blew three two-goal leads to send the game to an extra stanza, Marc Savard
, hockey player, returned to reclaim his all-star mantle and propel his team back into the forefront of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I mean it’s been a whirlwind for me," said Savard, who was leveled by the Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke's sneak attack on March 7. "Obviously, I went through a lot of tough days and I don’t know what happened. I felt like when they tied it and we went in the room I felt like, 'Jeez, I think this is how it’s supposed to be right here.'"
Fan across North America (and judging by web hits, the Hub of Hockey encircles much of the Earth, as well) might have all been thinking similar thoughts, but only a bold few would say it.
"Watch Savvy," they said to their eye-rolling compatriots. "He's going to put this one to bed."
"Well, I don’t know. I just thought, 'Why not get a shot on net?' I tried one in the third from center and it was pretty pitiful," said Savard of his earlier "practice swing."
"It just landed perfect and I clipped it with everything," said the diminutive superstar. "Like I said, it was all Dennis [Wideman] pinching. And I think they had a penalty coming too.
"They whacked Dennis’ [Wideman] stick out of his hand. So I just thought, “Oh, why not get a shot on net here and see what happens?” And it went in."
Bedlam ensued, led by the ringmaster himself. Savard skated toward the fans, heaved his stick into the stands, and was mobbed by his teammates, all as streams of "Dirty Water" (coincidentally doubly-appropriate on this day) raised the cacophony to 747-level.
Savard, who tends to resemble Calvin of “Calvin and Hobbes” fame, did his best not to display a, um, overly exuberant grin. But all that he accomplished was to raise his charm level to rock star proportions and win the hearts of much of New England.
"No. I guess you can’t script it any better," said the hockey player. "It’s only Game 1, you got to remember that.
"I’ll have a lot of time to enjoy it actually because it was an afternoon game, so that was nice. But, just get my rest, keep working through it, and hopefully get after Game 2."
Savard praised his teammates and tried to shift the focus towards his beloved Bruins.
"I mean, everybody played great tonight," said the center. "I kept it as short as I could."
"I felt bad for Bergy [Bergeron] and Krech [David Krejci
] because I was doing all those half circles and they ended up playing 25-26 minutes," explained Savard. "But they did a great job. They battled hard and they’ve been playing great all playoffs, so I just got a break tonight."
And it was defenseman Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara
who got the assists on the now legendary chip shot.
"Obviously I did a couple circles and then came back off," said Savard. "Wides [Wideman] made a nice pinch there and kept it alive, I was just thinking, 'As soon as this thing lands, I’m shooting it.' And it found a way in."
And Savard found another way into Bruins history -- but his game-winning stick, tossed into the stands as a reward for the Seventh Players' strong play on the day.
"Yeah well, you know, I thought it was a treat for somebody because they’d been great all night, but that person threw it back," said Savard with a laugh. "I went off to do the three stars and all of a sudden I had my stick and I thought, ‘Jeez, is it my head? Something’s wrong here.’ But no, I got it back. They probably thought I made a mistake, but that was actually a gift for somebody. So thanks for giving it back."
No, thank you, Savvy -- the goal was all the reward the Hub of Hockey needed.