|02.22.14 at 12:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins practiced again Saturday, with those who didn’t play in the Olympics skating for the third straight day.
Back on the ice was Reilly Smith, who missed Friday’s practice with an illness. Adam McQuaid practiced with teammates for the third consecutive day as he works his way back from a lower-body injury. McQuaid has not played since Jan. 19, and though he skated prior to the Olympic break, he did not take the ice over the two-week break from team activities. He says he is not quite ready to play, but that he continues to feel better.
The Bruins won’t practice Sunday, but McQuaid is expected to skate on his own.
“I think he’s still working his way back in,” Bruins assistant coach Doug Jarvis said Saturday. “My understanding is he’ll skate [Sunday] on his own and we’ll continue to work with him. I see it being, from what I understand, a day-to-day scenario as we move along. We’ll see how he keeps improving.”
Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad, both of whom were recalled for Friday’s practice, were returned to Providence Saturday.
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|02.21.14 at 10:55 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The non-Olympian Bruins took the ice Friday at Ristuccia Arena, skating for the second straight day as the league prepares to resume the NHL schedule next week.
After calling up Alexander Khoklachev and Craig Cunningham for Thursday’s practice, the B’s returned both players to Providence and recalled Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad. Adam McQuaid, who has not played since Jan. 19 due to a lower-body injury, skated for the second straight day.
Missing were Olympians Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Loui Eriksson, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Claude Julien. Reilly Smith was absent, with assistant coach Doug Houda saying the player was under the weather.
|02.20.14 at 12:46 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have called up forwards Craig Cunningham and Alexander Khokhlachev from the team’s AHL affiliate in Providence.
In 53 games with the P-Bruins, Cunningham has a team-high 19 goals with 15 assists. Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 Providence games.
Cunningham and Khokhlachev are expected to provide depth in practice as the Bruins give their Olympians some time to readjust before the NHL starts up again next week.
|02.18.14 at 2:26 pm ET|
David Krejci netted the first goal by a Bruin in these Olympics and later added an assist to help lead the Czech Republic to a wild 5-3 qualification round win over Zdeno Chara and Slovakia. The Czechs will take on the United States in the quarterfinals Wednesday at noon ET.
The Czechs led 4-0 with under two minutes to go in the second period, but a late goal from Marian Hossa cut it to 4-1 heading into the third. The Slovaks then scored twice more in the first nine minutes of the third period, making it a one-goal game with 11 minutes to go. They kept the pressure on the Czechs and came close to tying the game several times, but then Krejci set up Tomas Plekanec for an empty-netter with 38 seconds to go to seal the win.
With the Czechs already leading 2-0 in the first, Krejci struck on the power play with 2:57 left in the period. He set up in the left circle, where he took a pass from former Bruins teammate Tomas Kaberle and ripped a rocket of a one-timer over Jan Laco‘s right shoulder. Krejci and the Czechs enter Wednesday’s game against U.S. with a 2-2 record — they beat Latvia 4-2 in group play, but lost to Sweden (4-2) and Switzerland (1-0).
For Chara and Slovakia, the loss marks the end of an extremely disappointing tournament. The Slovaks failed to win a single game, as they got blown out by the U.S. and upset by Slovenia before taking Russia to a shootout in group play.
Chara was on the ice for three of the Czech Republic’s four goals Tuesday, and he also took a tripping penalty in the second period. The first goal came on a power play when Chara and two of his teammates couldn’t clear out the front of the net, allowing Ales Hemsky to eventually bury one from in close. Chara was also on the ice for Krejci’s goal, although there wasn’t anything he could’ve done about it.
The third came when Andrej Sekera misplayed a Chara pass at the offensive blue line, leading to a breakaway goal at the other end. Chara did help the Czechs cut the lead to 4-2, though, as his drive to the net opened up space for Hossa to score his second goal of the game. Chara finishes the Olympics with one assist, two penalties and a minus-1 rating.
In other qualification round action, Slovenia beat Austria 4-0, Russia beat Norway 4-0, and Latvia beat Switzerland 3-1. That sets up the following quarterfinal matchups for Wednesday:
Sweden vs. Slovenia (3 a.m. ET)
Finland vs. Russia (7:30 a.m. ET)
USA vs. Czech Republic (12 p.m. ET)
Canada vs. Latvia (12 p.m. ET)
|02.16.14 at 2:42 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask played very well for most of Sunday’s game against Canada, stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced. Unfortunately, the two goals he gave up came on shots he should’ve stopped. With 6:16 left in the first period, Drew Doughty beat him clean on a wrist shot from the left circle. Then with 2:28 left in overtime, Doughty beat him again. There was traffic heading toward the net, but Rask got a look at the shot and just didn’t get his left pad flat on the ice.
Canada took the group with the win, but Finland still earned a bye into the quarterfinals by virtue of having more points than any other second-place team. The difference is the Finns will most likely get Russia in the quarterfinals (assuming Russia gets past Norway), while Canada will face the winner of Switzerland-Latvia.
Patrice Bergeron played on a line with Sidney Crosby and Jamie Benn on Sunday, but the trio generated just two shots on goal (one from Bergeron, one from Crosby). Bruins fans suffered a bit of a scare early in the first when Bergeron took a Shea Weber slap shot to the midsection and left the ice doubled over. Fortunately, he didn’t miss a shift.
Earlier in the day, Zdeno Chara and Slovakia played Russia to a 0-0 tie through 65 minutes, but Russia took the extra point in the shootout. Chara led all players in ice time at 27:39. He also registered one shot on goal and took an interference penalty. The Slovaks finished group play without a win and will be the 10-seed in the qualification round, where they’ll take on David Krejci and the Czech Republic for the right to advance to the quarterfinals.
The United States — bumped up to the second seed because Canada and Finland went to overtime — will get the winner of that Czech Republic-Slovakia game. If the U.S. and Canada both advance, they would meet in the semifinals in a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game.
Here is the full bracket for the quarterfinals:
1. Sweden vs. 8. Slovenia/9. Austria
2. USA vs. 7. Czech Republic/10. Slovakia
3. Canada vs. 6. Switzerland/11. Latvia
4. Finland vs. 5. Russia/12. Norway
|02.15.14 at 2:43 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson and Sweden finished group play undefeated after beating Latvia, 5-3, on Saturday. Eriksson did not record a point, but he did rank third among Swedish forwards with 18:20 time on ice. The Swedes had already clinched a bye into the quarterfinals before Saturday, and they’re now locked into one of the top two seeds, as the winner of Sunday’s Canada-Finland game is the only other team that could match their nine points (the United States got two points rather than three for its shootout win over Russia on Saturday, so its ceiling is eight points).
In other Group C action, David Krejci and the Czech Republic got shut out, 1-0, by Switzerland. Krejci was a minus-1 and was third among Czech forwards with 19:23 time on ice. He made a nice play to set up Marek Zidlicky for a potential game-tying goal in the final minute, but Zidlicky sent the shot wide. The Czechs finished third in the group with one win and two losses.
In the first game of the day, Zdeno Chara and Slovakia suffered a major upset at the hands of Slovenia, which picked up its first-ever Olympic victory. Chara assisted on Slovakia’s lone goal in the 3-1 defeat and finished with a minus-1 rating while playing 24:06. The Slovaks will try to avoid going winless in group play when they face Russia at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. Even if they lose, they’ll have at least one more game, as all 12 teams in Sochi advance to the qualification round.
Patrice Bergeron and Canada close out group play against Finland on Sunday at noon ET, with the winner taking Group B and earning a bye to the quarterfinals. Finland has not yet announced who it will start in goal. Tuukka Rask picked up the win in the Finns’ first game, but he also allowed four goals on 20 shots. Kari Lehtonen started the second game and stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
|02.14.14 at 9:26 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask sat out Finland’s 6-1 win over Norway Friday as Kari Lehtonen got the start and Antti Niemi served as the backup. Lehtonen put forth a pretty strong case to remain Finland’s starter a day after Rask allowed four goals to Austria, as Lehtonen made 20 saves on 21 shots and even had a pair of assists.
That isn’t to say a Bruin didn’t play goal in that game, as Bruins 2011 sixth-round pick Lars Volden played in relief of Lars Haugen for Norway. Volden made 23 saves on 26 shots faced. With the victory, Finland is now 2-0 and leading Group B thanks to a plus-9 goal differential.
Sitting just behind Finland is Canada, which shut out Austria with a 6-0 victory Friday. Patrice Bergeron, who had two points in Canada’s opening game against Norway, went without a point against Austria.
The Czech Republic evened its record to 1-1 with a 4-2 win over Latvia. David Krejci contributed an assist in the win, while former Bruin Jaromir Jagr contributed his second goal of the tournament.
Loui Eriksson and Sweden enjoyed a 1-0 win over Switzerland and now lead Group C with a 2-0 record.
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