Bruins players with mixed Winter Olympics success in Sochi so far
The colors “Black and Gold” haven’t been this unpopular in the Hub since the Steve Kasper era of the 1990s.
Taking the region by storm instead, this week at least, is the “Red, White and Blue” of the U.S. men’s hockey team as Boston and the nation currently have dreams of a gold medal.
Grabbing gold won’t be easy, of course. The United States has to get by either the Czech Republic or Slovakia (the Americans meet the winner of that matchup Wednesday at noon) and will then most likely have to face the reigning gold medal winners in Team Canada on Friday in the semi-finals.
Canada has struggled offensively so far in the Sochi tournament, so much so that star Sidney Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was given two new linemates in Jamie Benn, of the Dallas Stars, and the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron as Canada searches for better offensive chemistry. Bergeron has been relatively quiet for Team Canada in their first three games, having registered just five shots on goal total. He did have two assists in the team’s 3-1 win over Norway but came up empty on the stat sheet in a 6-0 win over Austria and a 2-1 overtime win over Finland.
It’s been a mixed bag for the rest of the B’s stars in Sochi.
Zdeno Chara’s Slovakian team nearly upset Russia on Sunday, forcing the Russians to participate in a shootout for the second straight day. But shootout goals by Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk gave Russia a 1-0 win. Team USA already beat Chara and Slovakia, 7-1, on Feb. 13.
Loui Eriksson and Sweden are gaining steam as a team to be reckoned with in Sochi as they beat Latvia, 5-3, Saturday to move to 3-0-0 in the tournament. Eriksson had three shots on net in the win. Sweden has a bye to the quarterfinals, where it will meet Slovenia or Austria.
Tuukka Rask and Finland also have a bye to the quarterfinals and will meet either the host Russians or Norway. Rask has been a big reason as to why Team Finland has impressed thus far.
“If we can play team defense and we can protect the house, we can still win games,” Rask told NHL.com. “[Sunday against Canada] was a good example of that, but it was too bad we couldn’t win.”
One way or another, Team USA fans will be rooting against a Bruins player Wednesday. David Krejci, who has just one assist in the tournament thus far, and the Czech Republic will face Chara and Slovakia Tuesday (12 p.m.) for the right to battle the Americans.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS