Penguins' Godard may miss rematch with Bruins

Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eric Godard has seen this kind of buildup before.

The talk of retribution and carnage, of mayhem and vengeance.

And he has a pretty good idea, if precedent holds, of precisely what type of chaos will flare when the Penguins visit Boston Thursday.

The very limited kind.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game get built up like that and have something [happen],” Godard said.

There are no guarantees, of course.

It could be that, as Godard suspects, there will be nothing more violent than a hooking minor when the Bruins and Penguins get together for the first time since Matt Cooke scrambled Marc Savard’s brain with a blow to the head in the Penguins’ 2-1 victory nine days ago at Mellon Arena.

But there also remains the possibility of something akin to anarchy because of the outrage, simmering and otherwise, that lingers in Boston over the check that might well have ended Savard’s season.

Especially when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli all but accused his players of being down a quart or so of testosterone because none of them went after Cooke in the moments that followed his hit on Savard.

It is on just such occasions when the value of Godard, one of the league’s more accomplished fighters, is at its highest. He understands the role of enforcer, and executes it without hesitation or reservation, and that tends to have a calming influence on opposing players.

But Godard doesn’t expect to be handling the job Thursday. He hasn’t appeared in a game since injuring his groin Jan. 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York, and doesn’t have a timetable for getting back in the lineup.

“Like [trainer Chris Stewart] says, It’s ‘day by day by day by day,’ ” he said.

Godard seems to be making progress, however. He added on-ice workouts with conditioning coach Mike Kadar to his rehabilitation regimen last week, and doesn’t appear to have experienced any problems because of them.