Blue skies, sunny and warm here at Ristuccia Arena, where only a handful of Bruins took to the practice ice today, including Marc Savard, David Krejci, Marco Sturm, Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, and Tim Thomas. Most of the players took a day of rest.
Given the team’s game-packed week (four in six days), coach Claude Julien said he thought the need for rest superceded the need for practice.
“Right now, we’ve got such a heavy schedule and we have to look at it that way,’’ Julien said. “It’s unfortunate that you’re still in the first half of the season and you really have to manage your off days this way. We could certainly use the practice but right now it’s balancing whether the practice is going to help you more at this point or whether it’s rest. We’re sensing that the players are giving everything they have but at one point, that tank’s going to be empty. You don’t want to let it get empty.’’
OK, no sunshine inside the Bruins’ practice facility – it was the same grayish rink pallor.
But there were some brightened faces when general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the day’s big news: veteran center Marc Savard passed a conditioning test and was cleared to return to practice with the team and take part in non-contact drills.
Savard, who suffered a concussion in March, returned for some playoff games, then began suffering from post-concussion symptoms during the summer. He has not played this season.
Chiarelli said the 33-year-old center still needed to take several additional tests next week before resuming contact practice, but he said Savard’s return to the ice yesterday was very good news.
“It’s good to have a player of that caliber back,’‘ he said. “There’s a big difference in the last 3-4 weeks: His color is back, his swagger is back, he’s chomping at the bit.’’
Savard himself disappeared into his bolthole when he left the ice, but a Bruins staffer said he would be available for a conversation today.
Krejci, recovering from a concussion suffered two weeks ago, remains on day-to-day status for returning to competition. The Bruins play the Kings at TD Garden tomorrow.
“He’s a game-time decision, I guess,’’ said Julien. “If he does the pregame skate, the warmup, and until then, he’s day to day. He’s passed his tests. It’s now a matter of if he comes in and he’s 100 percent, we’ve got to consider putting him in. He’s got to be 100 percent and he’s the only one who’s going to know. We’ve told him 95 is not good enough. With a concussion, you can’t be 95 percent.’’