The Olympic games are over, and the Bruins showed the world their quality in Sochi. Three different members of the Black and Gold brought in one of each of the hockey medals. Patrice Bergeron and Team Canada earned the gold, Loui Eriksson and Team Sweden the silver, and Tuukka Rask and Finland earned the Bronze.
Team Canada’s coaching was assisted by Bruins head coach Claude Julien. Julien helped bring a slice of his defensive minded, two-way hockey to Team Canada. Canada’s strong performance further validated Julien’s system and showed the world once again what Claude Julien’s coaching can accomplish. The Julien system did not just impress other countries around the world, it made a mark on the NHL Canadian players as well. Sidney Crosby, captain of the Canadian team saw how a defensive team could outmatch teams that relied on firepower to get through a game. (He certainly got a front row seat during the Eastern Conference Finals last season.)
“We played great defensive hockey,” offered Crosby in an interview with NBC after Canada won the gold. “We just played as a team all the way through and I think we got better with each game, and that was the most important thing.”Now, as long as Crosby and his coach (and Team USA’s coach) Dan Bylsma don’t decide to change their game play….we should be just fine.
Now that the Olympics are over, the Boston Bruins are in great shape coming into the final push of the 2013-14 season. They are in first place in the Atlantic, and second overall in the Eastern Conference (behind Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins). The Bruins (37-16-4) will be getting back into the swing of things against the Buffalo Sabres (15-34-8). There is a forty point difference between the best and the worst in the division. In a way it’s sort of sad. Ryan Miller got to play with an elite team for a couple of weeks, and now it’s back to reality for him. The Sabres had a four game losing streak going into the Games, and they will be on the back-end of a back-to-back with the Bruins after they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. (The Bruins by contrast were 3-0-1 in their last four.)
This could be a rough week for Ryan Miller. First he has to sit back and watch Team USA fall out of medal contention, and now he’s got to stare down at the Bruin who ran him over (and in an odd way, paved the way for a lot of the turmoil the Sabres organization has undergone since), Milan Lucic. With only five players participating in Sochi, the team will be thoroughly rested and ready to once again hand the Sabres their heads.