|Matt Cooke: ‘I can’t control people’s opinions’||05.30.13 at 1:42 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Matt Cooke hasn’t been suspended in over two years, but the controversial Penguins forward knows that his past is on plenty of people’s minds as he prepares to face the Bruins in Eastern Conference finals.
Cooke, a veteran of 13 seasons, is best known for having a career of dirty hits, none more infamous than his elbow to the head of Bruins center Marc Savard back in 2010. The hit effectively ended Savard’s career, as lingering concussion symptoms have kept him off the ice the last two seasons. Savard last played in 2011, but was shut down for the season after suffering another concussion on a routine check from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick.
“I can’t control people’s opinions,” Cooke said Thursday. “Fans have emotions towards certain things and they’re going to be attached to them. I need to go out and prepare to play against the Bruins to the best of my ability, and if I’m worried about that, it’s going to affect me in a negative way.”
Asked if he thought about the Savard hit (for which he was not suspended at the time), when he saw that the Penguins would play the Bruins in the conference finals, Cooke shook his head and said, “Nope.”
The Bruins have said this week that they aren’t focused on Cooke now, but they certainly aren’t fans of his. After Cooke’s last suspension, which came in March of 2011 when he was banned for the rest of the season and playoffs for targeting the head of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Brad Marchand called for an end to Cooke’s dirty play.
'I think that it's about time he gets ' he's got to be taught a lesson,' Marchand said at the time. 'He's doing that stuff left, right, and center. I expect that he'll probably get a bunch of games, but he's got to be taught a lesson. You can't be running around doing that stuff all the time. He's going to seriously hurt someone again. Look at Savvy, and now McDonagh. He could have easily hurt him.
'It just seems to be part of his game. He likes to throw cheap shots around. I don't know if he'll learn. Hopefully he does. Hopefully he doesn't hurt someone to the point where their career is over. You want to get that stuff out of the game, and hopefully he does learn his lesson.'
Cooke, his teammates and coach Dan Bylsma have said Cooke’s been a different player since the forward vowed to change entering last season. He hasn’t been suspended since, though he received heat after it was his skate that accidentally sliced Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson‘s Achilles’ tendon back in February.
“His game and his approach to the game and how he plays has changed significantly since then,” Bylsma said. “I’m not sure Matt’s ever going to get away from some of that reputation throughout the league, but he’s put a significant amount of hockey in between his last suspension and how he’s played the last couple years for us.”
Bylsma added that Cooke has been “one of our best performers in the first two rounds, playing his game, playing well, playing physically.” He noted that if Cooke remains a storyline throughout the series, it’s “probably going to mean Matt’s playing well and we’re playing well vs. the other way around.”
|Brad Marchand on Matt Cooke: ‘It’s not even in our minds right now’||05.29.13 at 5:02 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are not consumed with exacting revenge on Matt Cooke.
As Brad Marchand reminded everyone on Wednesday after practice, the stakes now are way too high to get into revenge games for a hit that happened three seasons ago.
Of course, the hit that is etched in the mind of every Bruins fan when you mention the name Matt Cooke is the blindside hit he laid on the head of Marc Savard on March 7, 2010. That hit resulted in a Grade 2 concussion. After sitting out the first round of the playoffs, Savard scored the game-winner against the Flyers in overtime in Game 1.
Savard, however, was never the same player. After suffering another concussion 10 months later, he was shut down for the season and could not participate in the run to the Cup title.
How do the Bruins deal with their emotions on Cooke?
“Well, it depends what you mean by that,” Claude Julien said. “Are you talking about the Savard thing? Or are you talking about the way Matt Cooke plays. There's different ways of answering that. At one point, you've got to move on from certain things. Just like the next question will be like [Jarome] Iginla. Stuff like that. We all know about that. The thing we have to focus on is finding a way to win the series. If you just want revenge on this guy or that guy. Is it really the right focus to have? The best way to get that satisfaction is by winning a series. So I think that's where your focus has to be.”
Asked on Wednesday what he thought of Cooke, Marchand, a rookie in 2010, agreed with his coach, adding the Bruins can’t worry about exacting some measure of personal revenge.
“He’s playing well right now,” Marchand began, before offering a bit of backhanded compliment. “If you watched the Ottawa series, he’s running around a bit but he’s doing some things offensively, too. He’s doing good things for the team. We’re not going to focus on any single guy over there. They’ve got four lines that can do damage so he’s just another guy who’s on their team.
“It’s a completely different season. We’re not worried about that at all anymore. It’s a long time ago. There’s much bigger things at stake than that hit. It’s not even in our minds right now.”
“He’s doing a lot of good things right now, making a lot of plays,” Marchand said of Jagr. “He’s in the right spot a lot of the time. He’s getting a ton of opportunities. You really only have to start worrying when you don’t get any opportunities and that’s not the case for him. So hopefully, they’ll start going in for Jags.”
The other priority will be to keep a close eye on the Penguins’ highly potent second line of Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and James Neal. Marchand said keeping the puck in the offensive zone will be a big part of Boston’s defensive attack when those three are on the ice.
“That’s definitely a big part of playing like a line against that,” Marchand said. “They want to play in the offensive zone, and if we can find a way to keep them down in the defensive end and work it down there, it limits their opportunity to score. We want to play in their end as much as possible, but it’s not an easy thing to do with the skill and talent they have over there.”
|Marc Savard: Rangers should fire John Tortorella||05.23.13 at 6:28 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Speaking of super weird tweets, Marc Savard thinks John Tortorella should get fired:
' marc savard (@MSavvy91) May 23, 2013
The tweet came in response to Tortorella’s decision to make Brad Richards a healthy scratch for Game 4 against the Bruins. This would technically qualify as trash talk, as Savard is still under contract with the Bruins through 2017, though his career is effectively over due to concussions.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Marc Savard: Likely ‘no chance’ of comeback||10.22.12 at 3:12 pm ET|
While there’s no news as to where things stand for a potential season, Marc Savard took to Twitter Monday to give what at this point figures to be an annual reminder that he won’t be playing hockey.
The veteran center, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Jan. 22, 2011, said that at this point there is “no chance” that he returns to the NHL. Savard still has five years left on his seven-year, $28.05 million deal and technically has to take and fail his physical every year to be paid his contract. His cap number ($4.007 million) doesn’t go against the Bruins’ salary cap figure as long they put him on long-term injured reserve, which they did in the 2010-11 season when they acquired Tomas Kaberle.
I tried to workout today with my trainer I felt like crap but I need to do it #battle
' marc savard (@MSavvy91) October 22, 2012
For the fans that keep asking there is no comeback in the foreseeable future I miss the game it has given me everything I have today ' marc savard (@MSavvy91) October 22, 2012
I do in fact hope there is still a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel to play but that rest on the doctor shoulders so far #nochance
' marc savard (@MSavvy91) October 22, 2012
|Marc Savard: ‘I feel so bad’ for Nathan Horton||04.11.12 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When the Bruins traded for Nathan Horton in the 2010 offseason, the hope was that he could thrive in the Boston offense thanks to the skills of Marc Savard. Scorers such as Phil Kessel had excelled when skating on Savard’s line, so fans and media alike wondered if Savard could make Horton a 40-goal scorer.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, Savard and Horton haven’t shared many goals, or even games together. What they do have in common is that they’ve seen the bad side of playing in the NHL: concussions and post-concussion syndrome.
On the day that the Bruins announced Horton would miss the postseason with a concussion, Savard took to twitter to express his thoughts on the news, which hit close to him given his history. Savard wrote the following:
“I feel so bad for my boy Horty. Although I believe both parties are making the right decision. He’s too young.”
Savard, who is in the second year of a seven-year deal with the Bruins, missed the entire season with post-concussion syndrome and it is still unknown whether he will ever play again. Horton’s concussion is his second in less than seven months.
|Marc Savard happy, but not confident he’ll play again||01.21.12 at 1:44 pm ET|
Bruins forward Marc Savard, who is out for the season with post-concussion syndrome, made a rare appearance at TD Garden Saturday to unveil the suite he recently bought for patients dealing with head trauma at Children’s Hospital.
Savard has been plagued with head issues since receiving a blindside hit to the head from Penguins forward Matt Cooke on March 7, 2010. A routine hit from Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22, 2011 ended his campaign last season, and it was announced prior to this season that he would not play. Savard said Saturday the chances of him ever playing again might be slim.
“Right now, the way I'm still feeling and the daily issues I'm having, it's tough to see a bright future right now, to be honest with you,” he said. “It's tough. I still have my tough days that I want to get back and play, but at the end of the day, I know if I possibly got hit again, what could happen. It's a day by day thing, still. I'm still hoping that something happens and I feel a lot better, but if I feel like this, I still couldn't play.”
Savard said that the biggest symptoms he has shown involve his memory.
“I wasn't a guy that forgot too much, and it seems like I'm forgetting my phone at home,” he said. “My son played a game the other day, and I left the keys in ignition in the car. I turned it off, at least, but I went in and watched the game, and I was like, 'Geez, where are my keys?' I went out to the car, and they were in the ignition. So just little things like that that I would never do and that seem to keep happening.
“Mornings are really tough on me ' just getting going, getting the eyes open and going on. And the weather changes we've had in Canada this winter ' I think you guys have had the same, but cold, hot, rain, snow, it's kind of giving me a lot of headaches.”
While the memory loss has plagued him, Savard said that one of the worst symptoms of PCS — depression — has not been an issue.
“I'm happy right now,” Savard said. “I'm really happy, I've got no issues on the depression side. I'm around my kids every day, taking them to school, helping coach, and just, I'm really enjoying life. I think, like I said, I'm really happy, and happy to be here today. I don't have any hard feelings about anything. I'm just happy.”
|Marc Savard not coming to Boston Thursday||01.12.12 at 11:28 am ET|
The Bruins confirmed late Thursday morning that forward Marc Savard, whose career is most likely over due to multiple concussions, will not be coming to Boston to make his scheduled appearance.
Earlier Thursday, Savard was tweeting about weather interfering with his travel plans.
Savard was scheduled to meet with the media at 4:30 p.m. at TD Garden Thursday. He was scheduled to be in town to open the suite at TD Garden he purchased for patients at Children’s Hospital dealing with head trauma.
Savard will travel to Boston for a future game.
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