Bruins notebook

Players eager to join rush

Savard not alone in hurrying back

Seconds into last night’s game, Bruin Gregory Campbell had his hands full. Seconds into last night’s game, Bruin Gregory Campbell had his hands full. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / September 30, 2010

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Ian Laperriere, the Flyers’ grinder who missed the second round of last season’s playoffs because of a concussion, acknowledged this week that he wasn’t honest about his symptoms when he returned for the Stanley Cup finals against Chicago.

Marc Savard knows what that’s about.

“I understand exactly,’’ said the Bruins center, who returned for the second-round series against the Flyers too soon following his March 7 concussion. “It’s the athlete in us and the valor. You want to help and get in there. It’s the playoffs.

“I only played 41 games in the regular season. But that’s what you play for. It’s your whole life. You want to be able to play. I think I took that above my health and wanted to play.

“It was my fault, no one else’s. The training staff was great. Through it all, the doctors were great. At the end of the day, they kept saying, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure?’ I kept saying, ‘Yeah.’

“Obviously, it was a mistake on my part. The doctors said it best. When you have a knee injury like I’ve had, it doesn’t feel 100 percent when you come back. You’ve got to test it when you’re out there. With your brain, you can’t do that stuff. I didn’t realize that.’’

Despite his battle with postconcussion syndrome, Savard was present for yesterday’s media day at TD Garden. He looked pale and tired but was happy to be around his teammates. They departed last night for Belfast without him, but there is a chance Savard could join them in Prague.

While the team is in Northern Ireland, Savard will remain in Boston under the watch of doctors and physical therapists.

“He’s got to ramp up his physical activities just to get to the exertion test,’’ said general manager Peter Chiarelli. “There’s a lot of protocol we have to go through. We decided it would be better to have him here under the guidance of our doctors. We’ve got a physical therapy group that will work with him and start his conditioning. He’s got to go through other steps that are better served here than over there.’’

Savard, who has been inactive for seven weeks, said there’s a chance he could exercise if he’s cleared to do so.

“I don’t know exactly what yet, but maybe start with 10 minutes of whatever, then move on to 20,’’ Savard said. “It all depends on how I feel. Just take my time.’’

Savard said it was helpful mentally to be in Brattleboro, Vt., last weekend for team-building activities.

“It was great,’’ said Savard, who counts depression as one of his symptoms. “It was great to get some laughs in and feel like myself again. But there’s still issues we need to talk about and get those out of the way.’’

Bartkowski on the list
Yesterday morning, after a brief skate at the Garden, Matt Bartkowski returned to the visiting dressing room at the Garden — as a rookie, he still hadn’t been granted access to the main room — to find a travel bag at his stall. That’s when he knew he’d be one of the 25 players moving on to Belfast.

“Just butterflies in my stomach this whole camp, not knowing when I’m going to be sent down, if I’m going to be sent down, where I’m going,’’ said a grinning Bartkowski, one of eight defensemen who boarded the charter last night. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster ride. But I’m pretty happy right now.’’

The Bruins acquired Bartkowski’s rights at last season’s trade deadline from Florida along with Dennis Seidenberg for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller, and a 2010 second-round pick. On April 29, after two years at Ohio State, Bartkowski turned pro by signing a two-year, $1.7 million contract. Bartkowski will earn $635,000 in NHL base salary and $62,500 in Providence.

Along with Ryan Spooner, Bartkowski was one of the young standouts in camp. The 22-year-old, who hails from Mt. Lebanon, Pa., (a Pittsburgh suburb) is pushing Matt Hunwick for a third-pairing job. The 6-foot-1-inch, 196-pounder has been strong positionally, quick retrieving pucks, and efficient at jumping into the play when necessary.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,’’ Bartkowski said of making it this far. “I came in and I really didn’t know where I stood. I just knew that if I gave my best effort, I might have a shot at going overseas.’’

McGrattan in the mix
Brian McGrattan remains without a contract and has been given no indications that he’ll earn one. But the 29-year-old tough guy is taking it as a good sign that he’s one of 14 forwards still with the big club.

“I’m really happy,’’ McGrattan said. “I came in on a tryout, but I still had a goal of doing the best I can and trying to make the team. So far, things have gone the way I’ve planned.’’

McGrattan played right wing alongside Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille on the fourth line last night against the Capitals. The Bruins have had talks with McGrattan’s agent, but the club has yet to determine whether he has earned a contract.

In all likelihood, McGrattan is fighting Brad Marchand for the 13th forward spot. Chiarelli said there’s a chance the Bruins could carry two extra forwards to start.

Solid start
Tim Thomas, making his first start of the preseason, stopped 20 of 24 shots in the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to the Capitals before 14,916 last night.

“I thought the legs felt really good,’’ Thomas said. “Overall, I felt good. I didn’t get the results I wanted, obviously. But I passed the physical test.’’

Thomas allowed one goal he might have wanted back. In the third period, after playing Boyd Gordon too aggressively to one side of the crease, Thomas was out of position for Matt Bradley’s short-range strike.

“In a 4-1 loss, he’s certainly not one of the guys to blame for that,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “I thought for his first game back, he was pretty good. On the goals they had, I don’t think he had much help on.’’

The Bruins scored their only goal when Mark Recchi banged home a loose puck in the third.

Down and out
Steve Kampfer, Zach Hamill, and Joe Colborne were assigned to Providence, leaving the Bruins with 25 players. The Bruins also reassigned Jeremy Reich, Wyatt Smith, and Jeff LoVecchio, who had been recalled to play in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Capitals . . . Tyler Seguin, centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, had a tough outing last night, going without a shot in 13:58 of ice time. Seguin started the game on the No. 2 power-play unit, but was taken off the man-advantage for the second and third periods . . . Marco Sturm will start the season on long-term injured reserve, but the left wing traveled to Belfast last night. “I think it’s better to go than just being stuck here,’’ Sturm said. “It’s going to be good.’’ Sturm lives about 3 1/2 hours from Prague in the offseason, so he might sneak home for a visit.

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