The Boston Bruins represent some of the greatest players in all of hockey. Next month, members of the Bruins team will get to prove it as they pit themselves against the best players in the world. The Bruins showed off their embarrassment of riches by having players selected to play on five different teams in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will captain his native Slovakian team. During the last Olympics, the Slovak team placed fourth. That was the best performance of any Slovakian team since the country was created following the break up of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia’s first opponent will be the United States (no American member of the Boston Bruins was selected to be an Olympian) on February 13th.
Bruins forward David Krejci was selected to play for the Czech Republic’s team. Krejci will be joined by several ex-Bruins (Jaromir Jagr being the stand out amongst them) as the Czech’s try to medal this year. I like [the team’s] chances,” Krejci said. “Obviously everybody’s talking about Canada, US, Sweden, Russia, but we still have some good players. In a tournament like that, it’s only a matter of one game.”
Tuukka Rask, a strong candidate for this year’s Vezina trophy will be minding the net for Finland. Rask is part of the triple threat that is the Finnish goaltenders this Olympics. Rask will be backed up Dallas Stars’ Kari Lehtonen and the San Jose Sharks Antti Niemi. While the Finns wont have the strong two play defense like Canada, or Russia’s firepower they probably have the strongest net presence in the Olympics this year. Finland has won a medal in five of the last seven Olympics (they won the bronze in Vancouver) and they might pull off another surprise this time around.
Loui Eriksson has had a tough time of it since coming over from the Dallas Stars last season. He has already suffered two concussions (he has yet to return to play since the Brooks Orpik hit sidelined him last month) this season. In spite of that, he has been selected to play for team Sweden. Sweden also has some amazing NHL talent on its roster, and hopefully Eriksson will be healthy by the opening of the Games.
Finally, Patrice Bergeron was selected once again to play for Team Canada. This is his second selection to Team Canada, and he’s hoping to repeat the success the Canadian National Team had when they swept aside all opposition to take the gold in Vancouver in 2010. Canada’s team is just obscenely loaded with talent again, and they are the odds on favorite for winning the gold in Sochi. Bergeron was thrilled to be part of the Olympics again.“Obviously really excited,” offered the alternate captain after the team was announced. “It’s a huge honor just to be named to that team and to be part of that twenty five. To have a chance to represent your country is always something very special and something I take a lot of pride in. Looking forward to it.”
Other teams in the NHL will be sending more players to the Olympics. The Boston Bruins will be sending some of the best. It’s very likely that all three of the countries listed above will win a medal for their country. Black and Gold will very likely see more gold before the Olympics is done.