Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 330: Boston Bruins Find Success in Sochi

After a two and a half week break from their regular schedule for Winter Olympics action, the NHL teams are ready to get back into action this week. The Boston Bruins will travel to Buffalo on Wednesday night to play the Sabres. The B's had five players join their home countries for the Olympics in Sochi and three of those guys came home newly crowned medal winners.

Team Canada won the gold medal with impressive shutout wins over Team USA to make it to the gold medal game, and then a 3-0 win over Team Sweden to take the top prize. Patrice Bergeron stood atop the podium with his countrymen to collect his medal. When the Olympics began, Bergeron was a part of the fourth line for the Canadian team. But just like with his regular season play, he was so effective every time he stepped on the ice, he was moved to the top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Stats: Six games, two assists, plus-4, 16 shots on goal, 13:57 time on ice per game, 31-for-49 on face-offs (63 percent).

Team Sweden finished second in men's hockey taking home the silver medal after losing to Team Canada. Bruins winger Loui Eriksson, who has been slowed by injuries this year, came through for his country. He was a member of the top line playing with Nicklas Backstrom and Daniel Sedin and he ended up scoring a big goal in the semifinal game against Finland that tied the game, ultimately leading the way for a 2-1 Sweden win. Stats: Six games, two goals, one assist, 11 shots on goal, 19:01 time on ice per game.

Tuukka Rask played a huge role in Finland's path to the bronze medal including a big shutout over the luckless Team USA to ensure a spot on the podium. Although Rask got off to a shaky start in the Olympics, he soon settled down and went on to post a .938 save percentage. He was especially impressive in the Finland win that knocked Team Russia out of the tournament. Rask ended up getting sick and missing the semifinal game against Sweden so who knows, maybe if he had been in net, Finland would've had a chance to play for gold. Stats: Four games, 3-1, .938 save percentage, 1.73 goals against average.

Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) and David Krejci (Czech Republic) also both played in the Olympic tournament. Neither was really close to contending for a medal but Chara seemed to be quite a celebrity off the ice and had at least one picture taken with a really small person. He was also the tallest flag bearer and had to jimmy-rig his hotel bed to accommodate his 6-9 frame.

So... the Olympics are over... Looks like this is the time where I throw on that pink hat and hop on the Bruins' bandwagon to see what these guys can do down the stretch. I hope it's as exciting as last season! Don't Poke the Bear!

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