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Savard meets with doctors

Chiarelli considering options to replace him

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / February 5, 2011

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WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Marc Savard met with the team’s doctors yesterday, but said it was premature to comment on his status.

Chiarelli said he expected to meet today with Savard and his agent, Larry Kelly, to discuss what approach to take after Savard suffered a concussion Jan. 22 at Colorado.

“I would think early next week we’ll have something,’’ Chiarelli said. “His spirits are OK, but he’s still having headaches and vertigo every day.’’

Asked how the team’s plans at the Feb. 28 trading deadline would be affected if Savard were to shut it down for the season, Chiarelli said, “It certainly gives us more flexibility to look at more different ideas.’’

Would that include finding a replacement center to make up for Savard’s absence?

“Yeah, I mean, we have to try and replace him,’’ Chiarelli said. “But we’re not going to replace his skill or anything. There’s just not that player available, so we’re just going to have to get creative.’’

Hamill gets a look Zach Hamill said his objective in his first practice yesterday after being called up Thursday was simple.

“I just wanted to show that I can play here,’’ said the 22-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. “I just don’t want to go out there and show that I’m happy to be here with the call-up. I want to show what I can do and help the team win.’’

It was the second call-up of Hamill’s career. He recorded an assist in his first NHL appearance, a 4-3 shootout win over the Capitals April 11, 2010.

“I think he’s one of those guys who’s a good playmaker, he makes great passes, he sees the ice well, and, from what I’ve been told, he’s shooting more and creating some situations,’’ coach Claude Julien said of the 5-foot-11-inch, 180-pound forward, who skated on the fourth line yesterday with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. “He’s not a real heavy guy, but he’s playing a lot stronger and that comes with experience at the pro level.’’

How much experience he gets will depend on whether he can seize the opportunity, especially with Savard’s uncertain status and Daniel Paille’s four-game suspension. Hamill was leading the Providence Bruins with 25 assists and ranked second in scoring (3-25—28) in 44 games.

“There’s been a long period of time, five or six weeks, where he’s shown a heightening of his play,’’ Chiarelli said. “He’s competing more, he’s stronger, and it’s a good time to have a look at him.’’

Is that what it is, a look? “It’s a look,’’ Chiarelli said. “It could turn into something longer, [or] it could be a very brief look, but we’ll see how he plays. You have to earn your time and he’s earned his look.’’

Thornton leaves early Shawn Thornton suited up for practice but departed midway through the session. “He’ll be fine for [today’s game against the Sharks],’’ Julien said. “Let’s put it this way, he wasn’t 100 percent and I told him to get off. [There are] banged-up players at this time of year, but not banged up enough to miss a game. But we certainly want to give him the best opportunity to be ready.’’ . . . “They’re a big team, a big strong team, and they’ve been a lot better of late and winning more consistently,’’ Julien said of the Sharks. “They have a good variety of speed and skill and size and toughness. They’re a lot like Dallas and we’ve got to make sure that we’re on top of our game and we’re certainly trying to improve our record against the Western Conference and that started [Thursday] and we hope that’s going to continue the next couple of weeks.’’ The Bruins are 3-4-2 against Western Conference opponents, and play the Red Wings at home (Feb. 11) and away (Feb. 13) . . . The fallout from Thursday night at the fights: The Stars put Adam Burish on injured reserve with a facial injury from his fight with Andrew Ference. Burish was sent home with teammate Krys Barch, who suffered a facial injury in a fight with Thornton, and Ray Sawada, who incurred a broken nose and a hurt shoulder from Paille’s check.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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