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Bruins notebook

Savard is flying high after passing tough tests

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / November 25, 2010

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On Tuesday, Marc Savard’s day went something like this: Consecutive sprint tests with no rest in between. Heavy work with medicine balls.

Exercise, essentially, until he was gassed. Then the real work started.

“I was there for seven hours straight, testing,’’ Savard said of his day at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “I did some really neat things. Some stuff where I had goggles on my head covering both my eyes. I couldn’t see.

“My eyes were on a TV monitor. My head was hanging over a table. When you’re lying down like that, your eyes get tired and wandering. They were checking how focused I could stay.

“I did some stuff where I had this thing on my head and I was looking through a scope far away with a little letter. It was the letter E, and I had to say whether it was left, right, up, or down. They were shaking my head side to side really quick, and I had to be able to tell what it was.

“It was pretty cool testing. The workout was really tough in the morning. I didn’t enjoy that part.’’

The end result: Dr. Micky Collins cleared the Bruins center for full-contact practice.

“It was really a great day,’’ Savard said. “I got my confidence that much more better.

“He said I passed with flying colors. So that made me feel really good.’’

Savard’s reward was a return to Florida — he had practiced with his teammates in Tampa Monday — and a morning skate at the BankAtlantic Center. After that, Savard kicked off his grunt work. With assistant coach Doug Houda keeping watch, Savard, Marco Sturm, and Adam McQuaid engaged in battle drills down low. Savard even took an errant elbow to the jaw from McQuaid with no repercussions.

“He’s thinking two or three more days of this and he’d want to play instead,’’ cracked general manager Peter Chiarelli, noting the difficulty of the down-low digging. “I know what he’s thinking.’’

Neither Savard nor the Bruins have committed to a return date. It likely will take Savard several weeks to gain his strength and catch up to NHL speed.

Following his morning workout, Savard returned to the dressing room, where he was not given a stall like his teammates. Instead, Savard sat on a folding chair and offered his usual wisecracks. “You’d think after 14 years in the league I could get a stall,’’ he said.

Campbell has fan In 2000, when Florida coach Peter DeBoer was at the helm of the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, he drafted Gregory Campbell. Then in 2002, when DeBoer assumed the coaching job in Kitchener, his club acquired Campbell from Plymouth. The last two seasons, DeBoer was again Campbell’s boss in Florida.

So it’s safe to say that DeBoer knows Campbell better than most.

“I’ve always been a big fan,’’ DeBoer said. “Gregory’s always a guy that’s more about the intangibles than he is about the stat line. Coaches appreciate those types of guys. He’s missed here, for sure.’’

Campbell broke into the NHL full-time in 2005-06 for then-coach Jacques Martin, who currently stands behind the Montreal bench. But it was under DeBoer, who arrived in 2008, that Campbell found a niche as a third-line matchup center and penalty-killing specialist.

In 2008-09, DeBoer’s first year, Campbell had 13 goals and 19 assists while averaging 16:47 of ice time per game, the highest workload of his NHL career. Last season, Campbell had two goals and 15 assists while averaging 15:23 of ice time.

When the Bruins acquired Campbell along with Nathan Horton, they projected him to be a fourth-line center. In that role, Campbell has had excellent chemistry with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton. But coach Claude Julien has given Campbell more opportunities than a standard No. 4 center.

“The coaching staff’s shown a lot of confidence in me, and that goes a long way as an individual and as an athlete,’’ Campbell said. “When they show confidence in you, it’s a good feeling. At the end of the day, you just have to not try and change too much. Just play hard and contribute.’’

Burns funeral set The funeral for former Bruins coach Pat Burns will be Monday in Montreal. Julien is expected to attend . . . The Panthers promoted Brockton native Joe Callahan from Rochester yesterday, along with fellow defenseman Keaton Ellerby. Callahan played at BC High. The Panthers were without D-man Bryan Allen, who broke his foot Monday against Pittsburgh. Florida also placed Steve Bernier (orbital bone fracture) and Rostislav Olesz (broken finger) on injured reserve.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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