|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|
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.”
|Zdeno Chara, David Krejci return to Bruins practice; Niklas Svedberg, Matt Linblad recalled||at 1:10 pm ET|
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.
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.
|Matt Bartkowski on M&M: ‘Trying not to change too much’ with increased ice time||02.07.14 at 1:39 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss being a young defenseman, the Olympics and other hockey-related news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With Zdeno Chara out of the B’s lineup due to the Olympics, Bartkowski and the rest of the team’s younger defenseman are getting more ice time.
“We’re just trying to focus on playing our games,” Bartkowski said. “We’re not trying to change too much of what we do. We try and do too much then it ends up hurting the team or being detrimental, so as long as we play our games, we’re just getting some more minutes.”
Bartkowski, who played in 20 regular-season games and skated to a minus-3 in the previous three seasons, has registered 10 points in 41 games this season.
“I think it’s more just your comfort level and your confidence level,” Bartkowski said. “The more and more you play, and the more you understand that you, yourself, you should be there and you’re good enough, and you should be there for a reason — once you understand that, I think your instincts just kind of take over and you just play the game like you know you can.”
|Photo: Sochi accommodations a bit small for Zdeno Chara||at 11:59 am ET|
The shortcomings of Sochi’s accommodations for the Olympics have been well documented over the past few days. From yellow water to broken door handles, the media has lit up Twitter with the pictures to prove it.
So if media and averaged-sized athletes are having problems with their rooms, how will the NHL‘s tallest player and the flag-bearer for Slovakia handle the conditions?
“I’ve been in Russia many times, and yeah, there are many different levels of hotels from one-star, two-star to really luxury ones,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara told WEEI’s DJ Bean earlier this week. “I’m sure it’s not going to be a five-star accommodation, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything bad. Really as an athlete, we’re more looking for getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep and obviously good food. That’s all you should really care about ‘ not what kind of pillows.”
‘ Tomas Kmec (@Tomas_Kmec) February 6, 2014
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Chara won’t need to worry about the pillows, but after a picture surfaced of his bed in Sochi, he will need to deal with sheets that may not cover his entire body. While Olympic organizers had an extension to add onto Chara’s bed, they don’t appear to have the necessary extension to add to his sheets.
|Bruins beat Canucks for first time since 2011 Stanley Cup finals||02.04.14 at 9:39 pm ET|
Though it didn’t mean as much as their last win over the Canucks, the Bruins beat Vancouver on Tuesday at TD Garden for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins picked up a 3-1 victory, good for their sixth win in their last seven games.
Vancouver native Milan Lucic made it 1-0 at 5:12 of the first period, with David Krejci passing it back to him while on a 2-on-2 with Jarome Iginla. Lucic finished off the play by beating Roberto Luongo stick side from the slot. Iginla added to the lead with a power-play goal off a feed from Zdeno Chara in the second.
Newly acquired Canucks defenseman Raphael Diaz beat Tuukka Rask with a slap shot on a waffling puck in the second at 11:28 of the second, but a Daniel Paille breakaway goal off a stretch pass from Johnny Boychuk increased the Bruins’ lead back to two.
The game was the third played between the B’s and Canucks since the 2011 Cup finals, with Luongo making his first start at TD Garden since Game 6 of the series. He was out dueled Tuesday by Rask, who made 27 saves.
Tuesday marked Chara’s last game with the team before he leaves for Sochi to be Slovakia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics Friday. The B’s have two games left before the break, as they’ll play in St. Louis on Thursday and host the Senators Saturday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Boychuk was a beast, starting the play that gave Paille his goal and providing a bruising presence. Boychuk found Paille coming onto the ice with the B’s stuck in their zone and sent a pass from the hashmarks of Boston’s zone to Paille at the Canucks blue line. Paille took it from there, beating Luongo low with a stick-side backhander.
That wasn’t all Boychuk did, as he used his body well on Canucks forwards, most notably crushing David Booth multiple times, including a massive hit along the wall in the Vancouver zone late in the second period.
The Bruins will need a couple more performances like that from Boychuk before the Olympic break, as the 30-year-old will be the elder statesman of Boston’s blue line for the next two games without Chara.
— Speaking of Chara, it was good for B’s to get two points in his last game with them before the break. The next two won’t be easy, as the B’s, who are already without Dennis Seidenberg, will be down their best two defensemen. David Warsofsky will play the next two games after being recalled Monday and sitting Tuesday.
— Though his line didn’t have the prettiest night, Paille continued to contribute. The tripping penalty he drew in the first period was the fourth penalty he’s drawn in the last four games, while he continues to use his speed (or, as was the case Tuesday, a fortunate line change) to create chances. Paille has eight goals through 48 games this season after registering 10 in 46 contests last season.
— Iginla has points in five of his last six games, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points over that span. His assist on Lucic’s goal was the 600th helper of his career.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Brad Marchand missed out on a couple of goals in the second period. What appeared to be the Bruins’ third goal was waved off after it was determined Torey Krug obstructed Luongo. Krug was in front of the net and fell into Luongo as Reilly Smith took the puck behind the net and fed Marchand, with Marchand having half the net open with Luongo down. Luongo immediately argued that the goal should be disallowed, which it was.
Later in the period, Marchand hit the post on a backhand bid in front.
— Statistically speaking, Patrice Bergeron‘s line has cooled off since its torrid stretch in mid-to-late January. The trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Smith now has gone four games without producing a goal.
While the lodging accommodations (or lack thereof) for media in Sochi have made headlines recently, it appears that the athletes won’t have the most luxurious stay for the Olympics either.
One of rooms Canada men’s hockey team will stay in pic.twitter.com/7OJQd2m4bq
‘ Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 4, 2014
One thought comes to mind at the sight of those tiny beds: What in the world is Zdeno Chara going to do?
Chara, the tallest player in the NHL and the captain of Slovakia’s Olympic hockey team, might have a hard time properly resting his 6-foot-9, 255-pound body in that small a space, but he doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“I’ve been in Russia many times, and yeah, there are many different levels of hotels from one-star, two-star to really luxury ones,” Chara said. “I’m sure it’s not going to be a five-star accommodation, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything bad. Really, as an athlete, we’re more looking for getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep and obviously good food. That’s all you should really care about — not what kind of pillows.”
Though that picture makes the rooms look especially crammed, Chara, who played in both the Torino and Vancouver Olympics, said that in his Olympic experience it’s common to have three players to a room.
“I think that you can choose to have one or two roommates; it depends on what sport, I guess,” Chara said. “But yeah, usually you always have a roommate, but every village is a little bit different. You can have kind of like a common area for certain rooms where you can watch TV, or each room can have a TV. It depends. I don’t know what it’s going to be like.”
Chara will leave the Bruins prior to Thursday’s game to carry the flag for Slovakia in Friday’s opening ceremonies. He will not play Thursday or Saturday for the B’s.
|Bruins recall David Warsofsky||02.03.14 at 9:59 am ET|
The Bruins recalled defenseman David Warsofsky on Monday as the team enters the final week before the Olympic break.
The B’s have three games this week, two of which will be played without Zdeno Chara due to his duties as Slovkia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics. Given that the team had been carrying just six defensemen, a call-up was going to be required.
Warsofsky already has played in four games for the B’s this season, recording one goal and no assists with an even rating. In 42 games for Providence, the Marshfield native has three goals and 23 assists for 26 points with a plus-12 rating.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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