Center Marc Savard
was among the Bruins who took Boston's seven-game playoff upset loss to Carolina loss last spring the hardest. He faced the throngs of media until the there were no reporters left. The 12-year veteran knows most NHL players get precious few opportunities at the Stanley Cup, and Savard truly believed that the 2008-09 Bruins had that opportunity.
"It was really hard because I just really believed we could do it," Savard said recently of the Bruins' heartbreaking overtime loss to Carolina in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. "We had such a great season and to have it end like that, in overtime, on home ice -- it was tough to swallow. I'm not saying we didn't have a great season, but that was a tough way to go out."
But Savard believes the pieces are in place for the Bruins to get another chance to make a run at the Cup. He realizes his friend and linemate, unsigned winger Phil Kessel
, is likely to wind up somewhere else -- and even if he signs, he's not likely to return until late November because of offseason surgery for a torn rotator cuff. But Savard still thinks the Bruins have the tools to get the job done and play for the Cup.
"That's a tough situation and something I don't really want to talk about because it's between Phil and management," Savard said. "Obviously, (Kessel) is a great player and obviously he helps us win hockey games. When you miss a guy like that, you know there are going to be holes to fill.
"Then again, we've got guys coming back. Obviously you're going to miss (Kessel), but in the same respect, life will go on with the team we have. We've got plenty of good young talent, guys like "Looch" [Milan Lucic
] "Wheels" [Blake Wheeler
], [Matt] Hunwick, "Wides" [Dennis Wideman
] on defense and a great core of veterans like, of course, "Z" [Zdeno Chara
], Mark Recchi
, Patrice Bergeron
and the list goes on. There's a good core in place here of young talent and leadership so I know we have what it takes."
"Things keep getting better and our team keeps getting better, so that only helps everybody when that happens. I want to stay here. This is a place I love. I love the people. I love the fans. This is where I want to be."
-- Marc Savard
That's why as he enters the final year of a four-year, $20 million contract, the 32-year old playmaker is not worried about what might happen next summer -- or even about trade rumors surrounding him that are spurred by the Bruins' tight salary-cap situation and Kessel's contract stalemate. Savard has made it clear to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that he would like to finish his career in Boston.
"It's a great city and I've enjoyed my time here so far," Savard said. "It's a place that I'd like to finish if the chance comes and I'm excited to get the season going. Things keep getting better and our team keeps getting better, so that only helps everybody when that happens. I want to stay here. This is a place I love. I love the people. I love the fans. This is where I want to be."
Savard realizes the Bruins are tight against the salary cap and knows that next summer Chiarelli needs to re-sign restricted free agents Lucic and Wheeler, so he is willing to work with the GM to find the best solution.
"I'm not worried about the contract at all," he said. "Peter and I have a good relationship. Ever since I came to Boston I've given everything I had and if things work out well -- and I think they will -- then I'm going to be here for a long, long time."
For now, Savard is focused on the Bruins and the start of the current season.
"I'm excited to get the season going," he said. "We've built up something good, and we seem to get better every year. Hopefully that's the case this year."