BOSTON (AP) — Boston Bruins center Marc Savard believes the hit to the head he took from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke was made with "a little intent to injure" and that he's still feeling the effects of the check that likely ended his season.
Savard returned to the TD Garden on Saturday for the first time since sustaining a Grade 2 concussion on March 7.
"To me, it was a shoulder and I watched the (Mike) Richards on (David) Booth hit," Savard said before the Bruins beat the Calgary Flames 5-0. "I think that was a shoulder. ... I think mine was more of an elbow, so I think there was an attempt to injure there."
The hit was not penalized on the ice or upon review by the league. NHL vice president Colin Campbell decided Cooke used his shoulder, not his elbow.
"I was, obviously, very unhappy with what happened and I think it could have been avoided very easily," Savard said.
The incident, however, was the impetus for the new head-hit rule instituted by the league Thursday. Savard was unaware that the new rule had gone into effect.
He acknowledged Cooke's attempts to contact him, but said he has no desire to talk to the Penguins' forward at the moment.
"Yeah, he has tried and he has tried to get my phone number and stuff like that, but from what happened I really don't, right at the moment, have any interest in talking to him and that's just how I feel," Savard said. "Maybe down the road, but right now, I am not feeling any better so I would rather just not talk to him."
Cooke, speaking after Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, denied the hit was intentional.
"I have to thank my wife, my kids and the Penguins for sticking by me through this. It's hard on them because they know those comments aren't true," Cooke said.
Savard has good days and bad days, and has just started to go outside "getting some fresh air."
"I am just trying to feel normal again right now and I don't feel that way," he said. "I have had better days, but I still have some bad days in the middle."
He added he has been getting advice from teammate Patrice Bergeron, who had a serious concussion in 2007.