After their 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon, Patrice Bergeron, (Canada) David Krejci, (Czech Republic) Loui Eriksson, (Sweden) and Tuukka Rask (Finland) left the United States for Sochi Russia for the 2014 Olympic Winter games.
Captain Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) had left the team a few days prior as he had the honor of carrying the Slovakian flag during the opening ceremonies.
For the five Bruins who will represent five different countries in Sochi, they couldn’t be more honored.
“It’s always an honor when you get asked to play for your home country, especially at the Olympics” said Krejci who also represented the Czech Republic in Vancouver during the 2010 winter games.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling. So like I said, I’m going to go out there and try to do my best and we’ll see what happens.”
For Krejci, being there in the past doesn’t help you too much, especially with the larger European ice.
“Yeah you know, I’m a little familiar with what’s going to happen in the village and how everything works. But once you get in the games I don’t think there’s any advantage. You’re just trying your best, and you’re not thinking more than everybody else.”
The Men’s Hockey tournament kicks off Thursday (Wednesday here on the east coast) with a matchup between Krejci’s Team Czech Republic and Eriksson’s Team Sweden.
“Yeah, it’s a little bit weird. I think we’re starting out against Czech so we’re playing against Krech [David Krejci] right away so that will be fun to try and win against them” said Eriksson. “That would be a nice start for us.”
As good as Canada, Russia, and the United States look on paper, you can’t sleep on teams like Finland, Sweden and Russia.
Now representing Team Sweden for the second time, Eriksson thinks the Swedes’ have what it takes to bring home a medal in Sochi.
“Yeah, I think we have a good chance” added Eriksson. We are a really good team, lots of good players. But it is going to be tough but I think we have a really good chance.”
Sweden was defeated by Finland in the bronze medal game back in 2010.
Bergeron was a member of Team Canada in 2010, a team that defeated the United States to capture a gold medal on home soil. Now that the Olympic break is here, Bergeron can focus on winning gold once again.
“Yeah I’m looking forward to it. I’m really excited. And now I can think about it a lot more, that’s what’s ahead of me. And I’m looking forward.”
General Manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien also embarked on a trip to Russia as they are a part of Canada’s management and coaching staff, respectively.
On Saturday after his postgame press conference with the media ended, many reporters made sure to wish Julien good luck in Russia, to which Julien responded “you really don’t mean that, you mean good luck except when you play U.S.A”
To be fair, Julien has a point.
Canada and the Americans can’t meet until the elimination round, a round both are expected to make it into. I can speak on behalf of America and say that we would love another shot at Canada in the gold medal game.