BOLTON, Mass. — Some players snubbed by their home country’s hockey federation might start looking into some sort of dual citizenship or defection in order to get into the mix for an Olympic team.
But Boston Bruins center Marc Savard explained today that although he was disappointed to not even receive an invitation to last month’s orientation camp by Hockey Canada, he’s still going to try to make the powers that be add him to the squad for this February’s Winter Games in Vancouver.
“I was pretty upset about it,” said Savard before teeing off today at the Boston Bruins Golf Tournament at The International. “I thought that I had a good chance to at least go to the camp. And I didn’t really come out saying anything. I had a lot of calls for a couple weeks after that. It was something I didn’t want to talk about. I was pretty mad about it.
“I’ve had to prove myself over and over again and I’m hoping to get off to a good start. I still haven’t counted myself out. So I guess that’s all that matters.”
Savard, who would be a longshot to make the squad without having attended the orientation camp, has averaged more than 87 points per game over the last three seasons he has played for Boston. If he starts this coming season on a similar or better pace, he’ll not only make his case for a spot on the Olympic team but also make an argument for a contract extension. This is scheduled to be the final year of Savard’s deal, which would leave him as an unrestricted free agent after the year. However, he doesn’t expect any distraction will come from being in his last year of his deal.
“I’m not worried about the contract at all,” said Savard, who skated at an informal practice for the first time this morning in Wilmington, Mass. “Me and (GM) Peter (Chiarelli) have a good relationship and ever since I came to Boston I’ve given them everything I had, so I think if things work out well, and I hope they do, I’ll be here for a long time.”
Savard was open about not only his contract decision but his desire to remain in Boston. One contract he didn’t want to talk about was that of his good friend Phil Kessel. Ever since Kessel landed with the Bruins, Savard has mentored the speedy winger. But Savard didn’t want to talk much about was the forward’s current contract situation, as it looks like Kessel will be a holdout or an ex-Bruins when the team reports for training camp Saturday.
“That’s a tough situation and something I don’t really want to talk about,” said Savard, whose ability to re-sign with Boston, ironically, could hinge on what the Bruins do with Kessel. “It’s between Phil and the management. Obviously he’s a great player and obviously helps us win hockey games. When you miss a guy like that there’s going to be holes to fill. But then again we’ve got guys like (Marco Sturm) coming back that will be able to fill holes like that.
“Obviously, we’re going to miss him, but in the same sense life will go on with the team that we have.”
Life’s been good for Savard on the ice as he’s made two All-Star teams and the Bruins have gone from playoff non-qualifiers to a playoff team to the top team in the Eastern Conference. That’s the progression the pivot wants to see continue in 2009-10.
“It’s a great city and I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and this is a place I’d like to finish if the chance comes,” he said. “So I’m excited to get this season going because we built up something good and we seem to get better every year, so hopefully that’s the case this year.”