Goalie dreams drive Savard to block shots
MONTREAL — Growing up about an hour’s drive from the Bell Centre, Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard wanted to be a goalie like his idol, Canadiens Hall of Famer Patrick Roy.
“His fight to win is something pretty special,” Savard said.
Savard never wound up trying goalie, largely because his father told him he’d be more involved in play as a skater.
“Maybe that’s why I like blocking shots and doing those things in front of the net,” said Savard, who started Tuesday’s game with 31 blocked shots. “I usually have a pretty good relationship with our goalies. It’s a hard position.”
Savard said he has enjoyed blocking shots since youth hockey, when he would add padding for extra protection.
Savard, a native of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, who now lives in Quebec City in the offseason, said his father would take him and his older brothers to one or two Canadiens games each season.
“That building’s always rocking,” said Savard, who set a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record for assists (64) by a defenseman. “I’ve been here a few times now (as a Blue Jacket), but it’s always a special place, and it’s fun to have your family come down.”
As excited as Savard was to play against the Habs, his longtime girlfriend will be equally excited when he shaves his bushy beard.
“She said she was going to put in a lot of money to make sure it goes away,” he said.
Savard has let his usual light scruff grow into a scraggly beard the past five months to raise money for the Movember Foundation, which addresses the biggest health issues that men face. If fans donated $2,000 by Nov. 15, he would shave. As of Tuesday night, the total was more than $2,800.
“It’s been a little ugly,” said Savard, who added that the last time he had zero facial hair was when the Jackets drafted him in 2009. “But it’s for a great cause.”
Jordan Schroeder, recalled Monday from minor-league Cleveland, made his Jackets debut Tuesday night. He played center, as did Pierre-Luc Dubois, who moved from wing because of Alexander Wennberg’s absence and started on a line between Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson.
Coach John Tortorella quipped that Wennberg, who didn’t travel with the team, is “day to day with a body injury … full body … like a wine.”
Wing Sonny Milano returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games, and Gabriel Carlsson sat out as Tortorella chose to use 12 forwards and six defensemen.
Josh Anderson of the Blue Jackets checks Brandon Davidson of the Canadiens into the boards during the first period.