7/19/2013

5 rings that literally mean the world


Right now we could be talking about the Bruins Schedule for next season.
The fact we're not has to do with the ongoing Olympic talks between the NHL and NHLPA on one side and the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation on the other.
If the sides come together on an Olympic agreement which is very likely, the NHL would have to suspend the 2013-14 schedule for at least two weeks in February for players to participate in Sochi. 
Beginning with the Winter Games in Nagano 1998, NHL players have been part of their national teams in the last four Olympics.

When Sidney Crosby scored the "Golden Goal" and Canada won "once-in-a-lifetime Olympic gold" at Vancouver in 2010, two current Bruins were part of the team with Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla.
The newest Bruins addition Iginla didn't just set up the "Golden Goal", he was also the tournament's top-scorer with 5 goals in 7 games including a hat-trick.
Patrice Bergeron joined the Triple Gold Club, made up of individuals who have won the Stanley Cup plus gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships, a year later when the Bs won their first cup after 39 years.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara reached the semi-finals as captain of Team Slovakia, when they lost 3-2 against Canada.
Loui Eriksson's quest for Gold with Sweden ended with a disappointing loss against Slovakia in the quarterfinals.
David Krejci and the Czech Republic were shutout and eliminated by Finland in the same round.

Bergeron, Chara, Eriksson and Krejci are more than likely to return to the Olympics in Sochi next year if NHL and IIHF reach an agreement.
With all the respect to Jarome Iginla, I don't think that Canada needs to nominate a 36-year-old  forward with the class of young guys they have.
Dennis Seidenberg who has been part of the German team in 2010 won't be playing in Russia as Germany failed to qualify, finishing one point behind Austria in their qualification group.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to be participating in his first Olympic tournament with Finland, whereas players like Carl Söderberg or Milan Lucic need to play an extraordirnary season in order to get a roster spot for the Olympics.

No matter which country you're cheering for, I think we can all agree that the Olympic hockey tournament should be played with the best players in the world.
It's bad enough that the annual World Championship is played with guys who didn't reach the playoffs with their teams, so let's get the hockey elite together at least every four years.
The IIHF World Championship will be held in May next year, hopefully we won't see any Bruins players in Belarus, as they are battling for Lord Stanley's Cup at the same time

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