BostonBruins.com – The Bruins were in good spirits Wednesday morning, following their 2-1 win over Calgary the night before.
But it wasn’t just the victory that had them smiling. Several Bruins were named to their respective countries’ rosters for next fall’s World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
Prior to practice at Ristuccia Arena, forwards David Krejci and David Pastrnak were chosen to represent the Czech Republic, while goalie Tuukka Rask was selected to represent Finland. The 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will feature eight teams from around the globe, will be played from Sept. 17-Oct. 1 at the Air Canada Centre.
Later Wednesday afternoon, center Patrice Bergeron was selected to Team Canada, winger Loui Eriksson was selected to Team Sweden, and defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were chosen to play for Team Europe, bringing the number of Bruins representatives in the event to seven.
“I think it’s good for the game and good for the fans, because they get to watch meaningful games early on in the season – or before the season – and then once the season starts, most of the guys are going to be in great shape playing-wise,” said Rask, who backstopped Team Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“Happy for the guys who have been named,” said Head Coach Claude Julien, who will be an assistant for Team Canada. “Obviously it’s an honor for those guys to be recognized like that for their countries…I think the fact that players have an opportunity to play in a high-tempo kind of a tournament to start the season is not a bad thing, and it makes you proud to represent their countries.”
Players participating in the World Cup will miss the beginning of NHL training camps, but Rask did not believe that would be much of a detriment.
“The first games in the NHL are going to be very interesting to watch,” said Rask. “Usually it takes teams a week or two to come together, and now it might be a different story, so I think it’s going to be good for the game.”
The 19-year-old Pastrnak, who suited up for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship earlier this year, was caught a bit off guard by the announcement.
“Surprise? Yeah, that’s what I was kind of hoping, that I’m going to make the team,” he said. “Definitely didn’t expect that I was going to be in the first 16 [players named to the roster], but that’s awesome that I got nominated and happy I can play for my country in September.”
Pastrnak said being able to represent his country is something he always dreamed of, and something that he has been fortunate to do previously at the World Junior Championship.
“Obviously I’m going to play with all those NHL guys from the Czech Republic and see all of the great players I was looking up to when I was a kid,” said Pastrnak.
One of those players is Krejci, who played for the Czech Republic at both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
“You know what, when I grew up [the] NHL was obviously my dream,” Krejci said. “But I never knew I could make it, so on TV there wasn’t [many] NHL games, it was just national teams, so that was kind of my biggest thing. And anytime you get to play for your country, it means the world to me.
“It’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s pretty much a dream coming true and I’m really excited to wear the jersey again in September.”