Savard a Hero in Bruins Return

Marc Savard just returned to the Boston Bruins in a big way.  Before Saturday’s game, Savard had not played since March 7th due to a concussion he suffered after being lit up by Matt Cooke with what some considered to be a dirty hit. The hit even prompted the NHL to create a new rule.  With Boston fans noticeably excited to have “Savvy” back prior to the game, he rewarded their loyalty by ripping a shot past Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher in overtime to give the Bruins a 5-4 victory in Game 1 over the Flyers.

It’s tough not to feel good for Savard whether you’re a Bruins fan or not.  He’s fought extremely hard to be able to get back onto the ice with his teammates and help the Bruins on their quest to a Stanley Cup Finals berth.  The game between the Bruins and Flyers was incredible from start to finish.  Boston led the game 4-2 at one point in the third period but Philadelphia clawed their way back to force overtime.  The Bruins squandered a ton of chances in overtime — with both teams visibly exhausted — but Savard eventually found the back of the net 13:52 into the first OT period.  Yes, I love the Bruins and I’m glad they won for that reason, but Savard’s return was a great story line to watch and he ended it with an exclamation point.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

NHL Wised Up with New Headshots Rule

Thursday, NHL owners voted unanimously to implement a new “head shot” rule which will remain in effect for the remainder of regular season games and for post season play. The NHL Player’s Association gave their blessing for the rule as they believe it will help keep players safe.  The NHLPA supported the new rule in their statement:

“We are encouraged by the league’s recent willingness to explore on-ice rule changes as a means of reducing player injuries and have no doubt that by working together, a safer working environment can be established for all NHLPA members.”

The new rule states that “lateral, back-pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact” are not allowed. This new rule is a response from the NHL to the hit Boston Bruin’s Marc Savard took from Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke that went unpunished but ended Savard’s season (pictured above). The hits have been getting more violent as the playoffs near, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’m happy to see this happen. I’m happy to see the NHL taking action to protect players against possible brain damage or other career ending injuries. I’m happy that this is just the beginning and that they are working on a permanent rule for next season.  Even though hockey has and hopefully always will be an aggressive and pretty violent sport, I’m sure that these guys are happy that their chances of ending their career with most of their brain intact have improved.

NHLPA supports new NHL initiative on head hits [Sports Network]