January 7, 2014

Five Bruins named to 2014 Olympic rosters

By Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara will be representing Slovakia in the Winter Olympics for the third time next month. (Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins ventured west this week for a three-game road trip that'll see them square off the NHL's three California-based clubs. Next month, five members of the Black and Gold will travel in the opposite direction, trading in the Spoked-B for their respective national colors as participants in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Here's a look at the quintet of B's heading to Sochi:

Zdeno Chara (Slovakia)

The B's behemoth captain will wear the 'C' for the Slovaks again. Chara led his country to the bronze medal game in 2010 after nearly defeating Canada to earn a chance at gold. Slovakia went home without a medal, however, as they fell to Finland in their final game of the tournament.

This season, the 36-year-old rearguard has 18 points through 41 games for Boston. He's tied for fourth among NHL D-men with nine goals. 

Patrice Bergeron (Canada)

A controversial selection back in 2010, Bergeron's presence on Team Canada's roster wasn't a mortal lock this time around, but it's long been expected. No. 37 played a small-yet-pivotal role as a shutdown center and key faceoff man for the gold-medal winners four years ago.

This season, the 28-year-old pivot has 10-15-25 toals and is plus-17 through 42 games. Bergeron leads all qualifying NHL players with a 62.1 win percentage on faceoffs.

Loui Eriksson (Sweden)

The first-year Bruin is slated to skate in his second Olympics next month. Eriksson was a key cog for the Swedes in Vancouver, scoring three goals and adding an assist in four contests. His team failed to repeat as gold-medal winners, losing in the quarterfinals to Slovakia after going 3-0 in group play.

Eriksson's been sidelined since Dec. 7, when he suffered a concussion on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who was named to Team USA last week. The former Dallas Star has 5-9-14 totals through 24 games.

David Krejci (Czech Republic)

Boston's first-line pivot will be a key member of a team with a good mix of veterans and young talent. Krejci shined at the 2010 games for the Czechs, despite his modest stats (two goals and an assist in five games). 

No. 46 leads Boston with 27 assists and 36 points on the year. He's the highest-scoring Czech player in the NHL in 2013-14.

Tuukka Rask (Finland)

The B's go-to goaltender will be partaking in his first Olympics next month in Russia, where he'll arguably be the most important player for Finland. Rask is the projected starter over Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. Rask's last international experience came over seven years ago at the World Juniors.

This season, No. 40 ranks in the top five in the league in wins (21), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.936). His four shutouts tie him with Ben Bishop for the league lead.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com