Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Marc Savard Gets No Respect

Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins is having another very good season. His 68 points currently have him 5th in scoring in the NHL. Last season, he put up 97 points which was good for 9th overall in scoring. Anybody who can put up those numbers is clearly a star.

However, Savard was not chosen to the All Star Game (in fact he has never made an All Star Game). He was not listed among Hockey News top 50 players list. The way he is playing this year, those look like oversights.

The problem is that Savard is only now showing he is a true star. When he first entered the NHL (as a two time OHL top scorer), he looked like an exceptional prospect. He scored moderately well (nothing rivalling his recent pace) and was a defensive liability who often looked unmotivated on the ice. He played seven NHL seasons where he was viewed as a solid depth scorer, but nothing to build a team around. Suddenly, last season he became one of the better scorers in the NHL. Many believed it was because he was a very good assist man who was playing with elite linemates (Ilya Kovlachuk and Marian Hossa). It was the linemates making Savard look better than he was. This summer, he signed as a free agent in Boston. How would he do with the lesser calibre linemates that he would be forced to skate with in Boston? I imagined that he would revert back to his earlier ways and make the Bruins look crazy for signing him up for 5 years at $4 million a year. That hasn't happened. He has exceeded expectations. Marc Savard has become a star player in the NHL. Right now, he is the kind of talent you can build a team around.

His non-selection to the All-Star game was puzzling. Savard has been the only consistently good thing on an underachieving Bruins team. Watching him this year has been a joy.
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