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Savard will convalesce at home

Concussed center resting in Ontario

Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped Milan Lucic in the third period, but Lucic popped in No. 20 in the second. Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped Milan Lucic in the third period, but Lucic popped in No. 20 in the second. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / January 27, 2011

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His head in a neurological knot again, Marc Savard has returned home to Peterborough, Ontario, where the 33-year-old Bruins center will rest and relax after being diagnosed Monday with a moderate concussion.

“He’s gone back home,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “He’s just gone there to rest, and that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion.

“We’ll take it from there. I don’t think there is any daily report we can give, other than you’ve got to give him some time.’’

Savard, who smacked his head on top of the dasher in Denver when rubbed out by ex-Bruin Matt Hunwick Saturday, has suffered two substantial knocks in less than a year.

He sustained a severe concussion March 7, 2010, when blindsided by Penguins forward Matt Cooke. Other than a brief run in last year’s playoffs, Savard was sidelined by that blow until Dec. 2, only to get rung up again Saturday on a seemingly innocuous hit by Hunwick.

What from here for Savard? There is never any knowing with brain injuries, but it’s a safe bet he will be out at least a month, and it could be much longer.

But again, that is all speculative, factoring in Savard’s difficult bout with post-concussion syndrome, his age, and his career résumé of 832 games (including playoffs). A father of three young children, whom he’ll be able to see while he convalesces, he’ll have not only his quality of life to ponder but also the welfare of his offspring.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have to rearrange their roster pieces slightly. Already carrying one extra forward (Danny Paille, back on the job last night against Florida), they have not called up anyone from Providence (AHL). If they choose to bring up a kid, top candidates up front would be Jordan Caron and Joe Colborne (a.k.a. Jumbo Junior).

Absent any call-ups, Savard’s respite should mean more work at center for Tyler Seguin, the franchise’s star prospect, who projected as a center when Boston made him the No. 2 overall pick last June.

Seguin, who turns 19 Monday, has looked a little wet behind the ears thus far when playing the pivot. He has the speed, stick skills, and hockey sense to play there, but Julien has been reluctant to force-feed him minutes at center. He has looked more comfortable and productive at wing.

“I don’t know what kind of progress certain people expect,’’ said Julien, when asked if he was satisfied with Seguin’s progress. “But he’s starting to get a little bit better.

“He’s certainly understanding the game much better, and you hope that his talent kind of takes over and gets better as we move on here.’’

All the while, Julien emphasized, it’s important to keep in mind that games in the second half of the 82-game season tend to be tougher sledding. Fatigue and injuries become of greater concern, not to mention opponents making Seguin more of a target, a rookie to be tested.

“It’s a bit more of a grind,’’ said Julien, “and he’s going to have to work through that as well.’’

Stuart sits again Mark Stuart was scratched again by the Bruins, the third straight game on the sideline for the former No. 1 draft pick (21st overall, 2003).

With the Feb. 28 trade deadline approaching, the three DNPs for Stuart could mean general manager Peter Chiarelli is trying to make a deal for him.

At his best, Stuart is a stay-at-home physical presence in the back end. His puck-moving skills have not advanced to where the Bruins hoped and his offensive upside appears limited, at least in Julien’s defense-first system.

If Chiarelli could move him for a legitimate top-six forward — one even pricier than Stuart’s $1.675 million cap hit — he likely would have to do it, given the uncertainty surrounding Savard.

Keep an eye on Atlanta, with ex-Boston coach Craig Ramsay running the bench, as a possible trade partner. A potential name in the mix: veteran right winger Nik Antropov, the 6-foot-6-inch behemoth from Kazakhstan.

The ex-Maple Leaf is a disappointing 9-16—25 in 46 games. He has two more years left on his deal at a $4.062 million cap hit (almost a dollar-for-dollar swap for Savard).

Stars on the move Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Seguin will head to Raleigh, N.C., today for the weekend’s All-Star festivities at RBC Center . . . The Bruins aren’t back on home ice until a week from tonight when they face the Stars, who these days have ex-Bruins goalie Andrew “Razor’’ Raycroft as the backup to No. 1 Kari Lehtonen . . . As when Nathan Horton played for the Sons of Sunrise, the Panthers this season have struggled for offensive production. Stephen Weiss is their top point-getter (13-20—33 in 48 games). David Booth leads the way in goals with 14. Ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman has six goals and 25 points, and a team-worst minus-17. Wideman was a minus-14 here last year, which in part is why he was dealt in the package that brought Horton and Gregory Campbell . . . Wayne Gretzky turned 50 years old yesterday. We still await the day his No. 99 hangs in each and every arena in the Original 30.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at dupont@globe.com.

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