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Zdeno Chara raves about Sochi accommodations: ‘It didn’t feel at all like you were somewhere in Russia’

02.24.14 at 1:38 pm ET
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In the days leading up to the Olympics, horror stories emerged from media members arriving in Sochi. The hotels weren’t ready, the water was disgusting and the beds for the Olympians were tiny.

On his first day back on the ice with the Bruins, Slovakia captain Zdeno Chara emphatically shot down the narrative that Sochi was in any way unpleasant.

“Of course,” Chara said when asked if Sochi’s shortcomings were exaggerated. “Absolutely. There was nothing like it. I don’t know what they were talking about, but I think that just like any other big events, the main focus is to make sure the athletes have everything they need first, and then obviously it goes from there. Maybe there was a few media people [who] didn’t get the service or the accommodations they kind of are used to, and that’s what maybe the started the whole thing about how everything was bad and not good, but honestly, I can’t say one bad word about the rooms, the food, the transportation, the safety.

“Everything was really, really good and really made it so easy to get around and feel really comfortable right away. It didn’t feel at all like you were somewhere in Russia. It honestly felt kind of like a resort, that everything was just so close and convenient for you.”

In addition to serving as the captain of the hockey team, which did not medal, Chara served as Slovakia’s flag-bearer, which he said was an “unbelievable feeling.” As such, he called his time in Sochi “one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

“It was amazing,” Chara said. “Every Olympics are very special, but this Olympics, I would say, [was] amazing. Everything about it I enjoyed.”

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Zdeno Chara, David Krejci return to Bruins practice; Niklas Svedberg, Matt Linblad recalled

02.24.14 at 1:10 pm ET
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The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad and goaltender Niklas Svedberg for Monday’s practice as the team awaits getting its full roster back from the Olympics.

Back for the practice were Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, while the team is still without Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Tuukka Rask and coach Claude Julien.

Though the team has called up players in recent days to fill out its practice roster (Lindblad practiced Friday and was sent back down), Svedberg could have stayed up with the team and gone to Buffalo if the team wanted to let Rask rest after the Olympics. Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward said that is not the case, and that Svedberg is simply up with the team to practice.

“No, he’s here just to make sure that we’ve got a complement,” Ward said. “As far as the other guys go, I’m sure you probably won’t see them at practice tomorrow, but they’ll be getting back quickly.”

The Bruins will practice Tuesday and then travel to Buffalo for their first game back from the Olympic break.

Read More: David Krejci, Niklas Svedberg, Zdeno Chara,

Reilly Smith returns to Bruins practice, Adam McQuaid progressing

02.22.14 at 12:47 pm ET
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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.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid continues skating as Bruins practice Friday

02.21.14 at 10:55 am ET
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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.

Bruins call up forwards Craig Cunningham, Alexander Khokhlachev

02.20.14 at 12:46 pm ET
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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.

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Bruins in the Olympics: David Krejci scores in Czech Republic’s win over Slovakia, setting up quarterfinal meeting with U.S.

02.18.14 at 2:26 pm ET
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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)

Bruins in the Olympics: Tuukka Rask great for most of game, but gives up two soft goals in loss to Canada

02.16.14 at 2:42 pm ET
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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

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