Savard finally was allowed to rejoin the Canadiens last Feb. 4, more than a year after Bobby Baun's check. "All I wanted to do was work myself into shape for the playoffs," he says. Five weeks later, though, he was back in the hospital. A fire broke out in the St. Louis hotel where the Canadiens were staying and a number of hotel guests were trapped in their rooms. Savard and other Canadiens helped with the rescues by climbing ladders and kicking open windows of smoke-filled rooms. Savard's reward was a badly cut right leg and an ankle studded with chips of glass.
Last summer Savard was surprised that Sinden selected him for the Canadian team that would play the Russians. "Why kid myself?" he thought. " Bobby Orr was hurt. I was named as a fill-in."
Savard did not play in the first-game loss to Russia but took a regular turn in Canada's 4-1 victory in the second game and was the best NHL defenseman in the subsequent 4-4 tie. The next morning at practice it happened again. Savard was in a corner, almost against the boards, when an errant shot hit him on the right ankle.
"One doctor in Vancouver told me I had a bone bruise. Another said I had a hairline fracture of the ankle. I didn't know what to think." Savard returned to Montreal, where it was determined that he had indeed fractured his ankle. The doctors insisted he would be unable to skate again for at least a month.
Eight days later Savard was in Sweden practicing with Team Canada, and after the NHL all-stars lost their first Moscow game Sinden, in desperation, sent him back into the lineup. As the world knows, Canada won the next three games.
"It is nice to be back again," Savard says. And to know that, at least in Montreal this wacky season, Le Bon Dieu is in His heaven.