The Boston Bruins sent six players to the Winter Olympics this year in Vancouver. Zdeno Chara, Miroslav Satan, David Krecji, Marco Sturm, Tim Thomas, and Patrice Bergeron will all be representing their home countries in the best hockey tournament in the world.
Both Zdeno Chara and Marco Sturm will be captaining their respective countries while Slovakia is the lone country to have two Bruins players, Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan.
I'm sure there are some Bruins fans who would rather see Chara not playing in the Olympics. He is already supposed to have offseason surgery on his pinky and he has a splint on his hand. Still, I'm sure he wants to wear his countries colors and do his countrymen proud so I can't blame him for playing.
Let's take a look at the guys who are going and what kind of an impact you can expect from each of them.
Zdeno Chara: Slovakia
Zdeno Chara will once again be playing for Team Slovakia. This will be his second go around with the Olympic team. This year he has taken over as captain and rightfully so. Chara who stands as the tallest man in the NHL today, has a blistering slap shot from the point, and hits just about anything that comes his way.
He leads the Bruins in time on ice each game and is a big part of the penalty kill.
Slovakia looks to be loaded on offense, but the defense is a question mark. Chara will need to be playing at a high level for the team to do well. He will be a huge factor if Slovakia wants a chance to medal this year and improve on their fifth place finish at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Miroslav Satan: Slovakia
Miroslav Satan will be joining Zdeno Chara on Team Slovakia this year. He is one of the veterans for Slovakia and is one of just six forwards from the NHL playing for Slovakia this year.
Satan may have lost a step or two over the past couple of years, but he is still a great player.
Satan hasn't played in the Olympics since 1994, but he has played at the World Championships eight times for Slovakia and has won four gold medals.
In all, Satan has played in 116 games for Slovakia and has scored 69 goals. He might not be the go to guy on Slovakia but his veteran leadership will be a great presence in the locker room and out on the ice.
David Krejci: Czech Republic
David Krecji is making his first ever appearance at the Winter Olympics. Krecji, who will be playing for the Czech Republic, is just 23 and in only his second season in the NHL.
After leading the league in plus/minus last year, he has struggled this year. Partly because of offseason surgery, but Krecji has rebounded recently.
Krecji has only appeared for the Czech Republic just one other time in a world competition. He played for the Czech's at the 2008 World Championships.
Krecji will be a huge factor if the Czech Republic want to make a splash in Vancouver. They took home the Bronze in 2006 and will look to do even better this year.
Marco Sturm: Germany
Marco Sturm will be playing for Germany as the captain at this year's Olympics. Sturm is one of only seven NHL players on the German team this year.
Strum has struggled with injuries recently, but posted back to back 27 goal seasons in 2006 and 2007.
Sturm will be a huge part of a German team that doesn't have much fire power. He will need to take games over and try to help Germany pull a few upsets this year. Germany hasn't medaled at the Olympics since 1976 when they won the Bronze and they have never won the Gold.
Sturm will do his best to change that.
Tim Thomas: USA
Tim Thomas is playing in his first Olympics this year. He is one of the veterans on Team USA even though he hasn't ever played in the Olympics.
The USA is a very young team this year.
As of right now it doesn't look like Thomas will get much playing time. He has already fallen behind Ryan Miller for the starting job and may have even been passed by Jonathan Quick to fall to the third string.
Thomas had a stellar season last year capturing the Vezina Trophy for best goalie and winning the Jennings trophy for least goals against allowed. He has had his struggles this year and it appears that he may have lost his starting job on the Bruins to Tuukka Rask.
Thomas might not get a ton of playing time if any at all, but it's always a nice thing to know that your backup goalie is the reigning Vezina winner.
Patrice Bergeron: Canada
I wrote an article late last year talking about how Team Canada should have their eye on Patrice Bergeron and maybe it paid off. Bergeron was selected to Team Canada and will be playing in the Olympics for the first time ever.
Bergeron, who was a surprise selection to some, shouldn't come as a surprise to Bruins fans who watch him game in and game out.
Bergeron has been arguably the Bruins best player this year and is one of the best defensive forwards in the game today. Bergeron finds himself playing for a Canadian team that is loaded at every possible position.
Bergeron might not be the biggest name on the Canadian roster, but his impact will be felt for sure. He can play pretty much anywhere and is a great penalty killer. Expect Bergeron to play a big part for Canada even if it isn't seen on the score sheet.
It will be great to be able to watch these Bruins players competing for their countries. Let's just hope nobody gets injured and they come back from the break hungry to finish of the rest of the season strong and look to do some damage in the playoffs.
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