After a lengthy silence, Boston Bruins' centre Marc Savard is finally talking about the hit that likely ended his season.
On Saturday, Savard addressed the media for the first time since being concussed by a blindside elbow to the head by Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Matt Cooke.
"I think it was a play that didn't need to happen obviously," Savard told the media on Saturday. "To me, it wasn't a shoulder. I think there was an attempt to injure."
Although Cooke was considered a repeat offender who had already twice been suspended for hits to the head, he did not receive any supplementary discipline on the play. This past November he received a two games suspension for what was judged to be a deliberate check to the head area of New York Rangers centre Artem Anisimov. He was once again suspended for a pair of games in January for delivering a hit to the head of Carolina Hurricanes' forward Scott Walker.
Following the Penguins victory over the Flyers Saturday, Cooke responded to Savard, denying that he intended to injure the Bruins star.
"I have to thank my wife, my kids and the Penguins for sticking by me through this. It's hard on them because they know those comments aren't true," Cooke told the CANADIAN PRESS.
This particular incident, along with several other notable hits like it this season, helped the NHL and NHLPA agree to the recently instituted blindside head shot rule.
Savard, who has been out of the Bruins lineup since March 7th, has no memory of the hit. While he said that Cooke has tried to contact him, he is not receptive to the gesture at this point.
"I don't have any interest in talking to [Cooke]. That's just how I feel. Maybe down the road, but right now I'm not feeling any better, so I'd rather just not talk to him."
When asked about a timeline for a return this season, Savard did not sound hopeful.
"I'm just trying to feel normal right now," Savard stated. "I don't feel that way now. I've had better days, but I still have bad days in the middle."
The Bruins could certainly use Savard's offensive punch in the lineup. The Ottawa native has 10 goals and 23 assists in 41 games this season after missing significant periods of time due to knee and concussion issues. The Bruins remain in a dogfight for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Entering play on Saturday, Boston sits in 8th with a two point lead over the Atlanta Thrashers.