BostonBruins.com - The NHL may be taking a two-week break, and most of the Bruins' roster getting some well-deserved rest as a result, but five Bruins are embracing the pressure-packed atmosphere of the Olympics on the world stage.
Patrice Bergeron (Canada), Loui Eriksson (Sweden), David Krejci (Czech Republic) and Tuukka Rask (Finland) all flew over to Sochi, Russia on Sunday, a day after the team capped off their strong push to the Olympic Break with a 7-2 route of the Ottawa Senators.
Zdeno Chara's Sochi experience kicked off earlier than the rest, when he received the honor of carrying Slovakia's flag in the Opening Ceremony. "It was so exciting," Chara said of the honor. "So happy and obviously humbled and honored to do that."
The Captain will be leading Slovakia's squad for the second time, and suiting up in his third straight Winter Olympics (it's his fourth time heading to the Games).
Meanwhile, Bergeron and Team Canada will be aiming to defend the gold medal they took home from Vancouver in 2010.
Krejci and Eriksson are also participating in their second Olympics, while Rask was tabbed by Finland for his first Olympic experience.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, an associate coach for Team Canada, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, part of Canada's management group, round out the Black & Gold's participation.
Your Bruins' Olympic home for the next two weeks will be here: BostonBruins.com/sochi. There, we'll bring you all of the latest news and updates, statistics and features from Russia.
The first game kicks off on Wednesday, February 12, when Krejci and the Czech team will face Eriksson and Team Sweden at noon (ET), live on USA Network.
The round-robin portion of the tournament features the 12 participating countries split into three groups - A, B and C - with each team facing the other three in its group over a span of five days, from February 12 - 16.
Group A: Russia, Slovakia (Chara), United States, Slovenia
Group B: Finland (Rask), Canada (Bergeron), Norway, Austria
Group C: Czech Republic (Krejci), Sweden (Eriksson), Switzerland, Latvia
There are 18 total round-robin games among the 12 participating countries, with 13 of those games involving at least one Bruin.
The full schedule can be found on the Olympic homepage at BostonBruins.com/sochi.
Every game is live on a network of NBC and I'll be watching all 13 of those games, so if you're not in the mood for a 3:00 a.m. wakeup call, I've got you covered!
Once the first round is completed, the top four ranked teams will move on to the quarterfinals, with the remaining eight facing off in a qualification playoff round. From there, the quarterfinals and semifinals lead to the bronze-medal game on Saturday, February 22, and the gold medal game capping off the Olympics on Sunday, February 23.
Interviews, Features & More
Leading up to the Olympics, the Bruins and Coach Julien shared their excitement and anticipation for the Olympics and what the honor of representing their countries personally means to them in their careers.
The 1-on-1 video interviews with Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask are already available, with others to be featured as the Games roll on.
BostonBruins.com/sochi will also include feature stories, as well as daily Bruins in Sochi recaps from the day's action.
As we go along, Tuukka and Patrice will be checking in as often as they can.
While it's bittersweet to have the Bruins' strong run halt for two weeks, there is still plenty of hockey coming your way.