BOSTON — Either Bruins head coach Claude Julien was trying to keep the Buffalo Sabres guessing or temper everyone else’s enthusiasm about the potential return of center Marc Savard or both), but after his team’s option morning skate at TD Garden the Bruins bench boss made it clear that Savard is still a ways from being back in the Boston lineup.
“To be honest with you, I don’t really have the answer,” said Julien when asked about the plan with Savard during his media availability to discuss tonight’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Sabres. “He’s still that far away.
“He’s been out for six weeks. He hasn’t be able to exercise or do anything. When you bring a guy back in the playoffs, you’ve got to make sure that, for his sake No. 1, that he’s ready to jump in. He’s got to be in shape to keep up with that pace. The other part is that if he passes that test, that means he can start skating and do different kinds of things. But he still has to go through different types of tests and he hasn’t taken any contact yet.
“For me to stand here and say ‘I predict he’s going to be back at this stage’ would be unrealistic. So we’re just going to go day by day with him and if he gets better sooner, great. We’re still working on getting him in shape right now and doing the things we’re told to do with him. And that’s where we’re at.”
For the third straight day, Savard skated on his own today under the observation of the training staff. He passed his neuro-psych test Tuesday. Savard was not available to speak after skating today.