We ask them for effort, first and foremost, and we ask them for sacrifice. We ask them to go into the corners and the piles, the dirty areas, and we ask them for production. We ask them to take the bad with the good, the criticism with the praise, and we generally pay them little attention when they are gone.
Under the circumstances, Marc Savard deserves a little better and a little more.
Nearly 18 months after absorbing a vicious cheap shot from the dastardly Matt Cooke, Savard is still having post-concussion issues, some of which he relayed in a recent conversation with TSN. Over the weekend, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Globe that he does not believe Savard will play hockey this coming season. The obvious question now is whether Savard will ever play again, something that seems less and likely with each passing day.
"It's obviously been a long road for me. I'm still suffering with a lot of daily issues. Right now it's been a tough go,Ē Savard told TSN. ďI'm just trying to get through and not worry about hockey right now, just worry about my health because I have three young kids and they're important to me.
"Mornings have been tough. When I get up in the morning I'm a little foggy sometimes. But as the day wears on, I'm pretty good. Hot sun is tough; I try to stay in the shade and stuff like that and pop the odd Advil and it seems to be OK."
Howís that for a reality check? Out of the spotlight and into the shade, because the warmth of the sun can be too much to take. Mornings are tough. Heís foggy sometimes. He pops Advil and is ok.
Savard just turned 34.
This goes without saying, but the Bruins must ensure that Savardís name is on the Stanley Cup. They must. Maybe you liked Savard as a player. Maybe you did not. You must respect the sacrifice he has made for the Bruins. Along with Zdeno Chara, Savard came here when most no one else would, beginning the process that delivered Boston its first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years.
Now, it certainly seems, Savard will never play hockey again, having made the supreme sacrifice during play.
He gave up his the rest of his career.
* No matter how you slice it, from the moment the trading deadline passed, the job of No. 3 starter boiled down to this: John Lackey vs. Erik Bedard, may the best man win. As much as people are linking the Bedard acquisition to Clay Buchholz, his presence has every bit as much to do with Lackey, who has the highest ERA in baseball among the 116 pitchers with at least 100 innings.
If Lackey had been something close to what the Red Sox anticipated when they signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, Bedard probably wouldnít be here at all.
* Mock him if you want, but Rex Ryan is 3-2 in his career against the Bill Belichick and the Patriots, including last yearís playoff win in Foxborough. The acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco directly address Patriots shortcomings that the Jets exploited in that game, which cannot help but make you wonder if the Patriots now regard the Jets, not the Indianapolis Colts, as their primary competitors.
A year ago at this time, annoyed Patriots fans were calling the Jetsí run to the AFC Championship Game a fluke, arguing that the Jets backed their way into the playoffs.
So whatís the excuse now?
* Anyone miss the NBA yet?
* Iíve said this before and Iíll say it again: if the playoffs started tomorrow, assuming health, J.D. Drew is my right fielder. Drew has had an abysmal year at the plate, but he rarely makes mistakes. Thanks to David Ortiz, the Sox donít need his bat so much. And in the event anyone has noticed, Josh Reddick is now 4 for his last 23.
* Albert Haynesworth said all the right things in his inaugural press briefing in Foxborough, which is great. How he plays and acts will have far more meaning. Give Haynesworth credit for all but laughing out loud when asked if he was someone who possessed a high ďmotor,Ē an asset he attributed more to someone like Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Now thatís honesty.
* Not sure what kind of program the Bruins have put Tyler Seguin on this summer, but hereís what the Bruins should do, now or later, but the sooner the better: put Seguin in the hands and under the care of Patrice Bergeron, then tell him never to stray too far. The Red Sox essentially did this with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett when Lester first came to the majors, telling Lester to do everything Beckett did in terms of work and preparation.
Since that time, Lester has overtaken the role of staff ace and become the rock on which the Red Sox pitching staff is built.
* Anyone else notice that Kevin Youkilis has stopped lunging at first base when trying to beat out close plays since that minor leg injury last week? We all love the hustle, but baseball is about managing the long haul vs. the short. There is simply no point in Youkilis missing games so that he could beat out an infield single while the Red Sox hold a commanding lead in the playoff race.
* So letís see. The Philadelphia Eagles have added Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown and Vince Young, among others.
Thatís an awful lot to put on the shoulders of Michael Vick, no?
Tony's Top 5
Best offseason moves in recent Red Sox history