Marc Savard will miss the rest of the season after he was placed on long-term injured reserve on Monday with his second concussion in less than a year.
"I have a lot of feelings going on. I think I'm frustrated, mostly," he said at a news conference at the TD Garden. "It's tough to understand why this happened. It will take time and patience, those two things I don't feel like I have much of."
Savard was injured in the Bruins' Jan. 22 game against Colorado, when he was checked into the end boards' glass by former teammate Matt Hunwick. The previous week, he was hit in the head by Pittsburgh's Derek Engelland.
Bruins doctor Peter Asnis said it's not clear what effect the previous concussion had on this injury.
"As far as this hit goes, he sustained a concussion, and he likely would have whether or not he sustained a concussion last year," Asnis said. "Certainly we worry about players who have multiple concussions, going forward."
Savard has two goals and eight assists in 25 games, and 207 goals and 499 assists in a 13-year career that also includes stops with the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames and Atlanta Thrashers. He signed with Boston as a free agent in 2006 and was re-signed in 2009 to a seven-year extension that takes him through the 2016-17 season.
Savard said it was too early to decide whether he will be able to return.
"I'm not going to make any decision about my future until I get some more medical stuff done. I've just got to be patient going forward," he said. "My agent talked to me a lot, and he gave me time to think about a lot of things. It's going to be tough, especially watching them play."
Savard's concussion in March 2010 was the result of a check by Penguins forward Matt Cooke that helped lead to an NHL ban on blindside hits to the head. Savard missed the last 18 games of the regular season but returned for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said the blindside hit rule has helped, but he also thought the league should look at other ways to keep players safe, like making the pads softer.
"I think we have to be careful with the integrity of the game," he said. "But I do think we have to look at that."
The Bruins are more familiar than most with the effects of concussions. In 2008, forward Patrice Bergeron went out with a concussion and did not return for almost a full year.
Savard described many of the same symptoms as Bergeron: Being sleepy all the time, and how things seem to move slower.
"Sometimes you just have situations where you just don't feel right," Savard said. "It's just an uncomfortable state. People see you on the outside and you just look normal. You don't have a cast on or anything like that. But it's tough on the inside."
Savard scored the game-winner in overtime on his first night back in the playoffs last year. But he did little in the rest of the series and was a contributor to a crucial too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty late in Game 7 that led the series-winning goal as Philadelphia overcame a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the Bruins.
Over the offseason, his post-concussion syndrome returned — including a bout with depression — and he missed 23 more games at the start of 2010-11. When he did play, he did not appear to be the same playmaker who led Boston in scoring in his only three healthy seasons with the team.
Chiarelli said he will be have to be more active as the trade deadline approaches.
"We're not going to be able to replace Marc," Chiarelli said. "So we're going to have to be a little more diligent."
Savard refused to comment on Andrew Ference's criticism of teammate Daniel Paille, who was suspended four games last week for a hit to the hit on a Dallas player.
Savard said he has been preoccupied with his own struggles and wasn't aware of the specific comments.
He said he would be spending some time in Ontario to be closer to his children.
Chiarelli neither criticized nor defended Ference, saying that the defenceman's comments probably came out because Boston players are sensitive to the issue after the Savard and Bergeron injuries.
Also Monday, the Bruins recalled forward Jordan Caron from Providence of the AHL. Caron has appeared in 20 NHL games this season for Boston, scoring three goals with four assists.
The Bruins play host to Montreal on Wednesday.With files from CBCSports.ca