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Olympians Zdeno Chara, David Krejci Join Practice with Bruins "Back to Business"

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - When the Bruins practiced on Monday morning in Boston, it was the first time they had hit the ice at TD Garden in 16 days.

Their last game came back on February 8. Their next comes just two days away, in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

As the Black & Gold have resumed their normal paces following the break, so too have Olympians Zdeno Chara and David Krejci. Both Bruins were back with the group on Monday, after getting in a few days of rest following their time in Sochi, Russia.

"It was amazing," Chara said of his experience, with no hesitation. "Every Olympics are very special, but these Olympics were, I would say, amazing. Really, everything about it, I enjoyed."

The Captain had suited up in two previous Olympics for Slovakia, in 2010 and 2006.

"It was just one of the greatest experiences in my life," he said.

Though both Chara and Krejci didn't make it to the medal round with their teams, they could still enjoy their time there, being able to have the honor of representing their countries and sharing that with each other.

"The ending wasn't the one I was hoping for but that's sport. There were so many good teams," said Krejci upon his return, after playing in his second straight Olympics with the Czech Republic. "On the other hand, it was a great experience. I had lots of fun. My mom was there with me, so it was great."

Now, it's back to the grind for the two Bruins and their teammates, with 25 games packed into the next month and a half.

"Yeah, back to business," said Chara. "We leave tomorrow [for Buffalo]; there's a few games starting tomorrow so it was a very short break for some of us."

"But that's the way it is, and you have to get serious and finish the season strong."

While the other Bruins were able to get in well-deserved rest before getting back into the intensity of practices, their teammates returning from Sochi may need a few more days to readjust, with the time difference and carryover from competition.

"I'm sure we're going to feel it for a few days; there's no secret [to it]," said Chara. "You're on anywhere from a nine to twelve-hour time difference and you know, you felt it today. I felt it for sure today, a little bit of jet lag and it's going to probably take a few days."

"But just got to get through, take care of your body and be smart about all of your rest and nutrition and for sure, it's going to be fine."

"Yeah, I've been back a couple of days but I have been going to bed really early and waking up early so it's a little bit different," said Krejci. "And first day on the ice today, I was really tired, I'm not going to hide that. But we've still got two days 'til the first game. Hopefully I'll get back and I'll be fine to go."

Assistant Coach Geoff Ward, who has been running the practices along with the other assistant coaches in Head Coach Claude Julien's absence, agrees with that assessment.

"They’re going to get better as the days go on," he said. "The rest of the guys are pretty much up to speed now. We’ve seen improvement every day in terms of their legs, and their timing is getting better."

"I think the biggest thing for us is that the group of guys that stayed here, we don’t want to come back and kind of watch them play," Ward cautioned. "So it’s kind of like it is our responsibility to have them assimilate back in to our team very easily."

"I think if we stand around and try to watch those guys play based on the success they have been having, we may find ourselves in some trouble. So we have to understand that the puck drops for us again Wednesday night and we have to be ready to go."

The game in Buffalo will put the last fourth of the season in motion for the Black & Gold, and despite the packed schedule, they're looking forward to the challenge.

"Now it's kind of exciting," said Krejci. "March is around the corner and April, the playoffs start. So teams are going to be battling for playoffs, our team's going to be battling for the best position we can get for playoffs as well, so it's going to be fun."

"It's going to be a fun time and I'm looking forward to it."

Gang's Almost All Here

Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson and Tuukka Rask were the only Bruins - understandably - absent from practice. The Olympic medalists are expected to get some rest after Sochi before returning to the team.

As has been the theme during these practices with the Olympians gone, the Bruins have been calling up players from Providence to help fill in. On Monday, goaltender Niklas Svedberg and forward Matt Lindblad got the call.

While Chara and Krejci have returned to practice, the other three will likely get more time away.

"I’m sure you probably won't see them at practice tomorrow but they'll be getting back quickly," said Ward.

McQuaid Progressing

Defenseman Adam McQuaid continues to skate with the team and make strides in his recovery from a leg injury that has kept him out of the lineup since January 19.

"I did everything today, so felt pretty good. Just a couple of more hurdles to clear," McQuaid said of his limitations, following Monday's skate.

He was unsure of his status for Wednesday, but feels "pretty close" to getting there physically.

"So we'll see how the next couple days go, and see where I'm at and see what decision's made," he said.

"He’s getting better every day, obviously," Ward added. "It’s something that we don’t want to push with Adam. It’s something that he has a history of so we want to make sure that when he comes back, that it's 100-percent and he’s good."

Monday's Practice Lineup

White Jerseys:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Carl Soderberg - Reilly Smith

Gold Jerseys:

Matt Lindblad - Chris Kelly - Daniel Paille

Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowksi, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid

Goalies: Chad Johnson, Niklas Svedberg

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