BOSTON, MA - When the Bruins practiced on Monday morning in Boston, it was the first time they had hit the ice at TD Garden in 16 days.
Their last game came back on February 8. Their next comes just two days away, in Buffalo on Wednesday night.
As the Black & Gold have resumed their normal paces following the break, so too have Olympians Zdeno Chara and David Krejci. Both Bruins were back with the group on Monday, after getting in a few days of rest following their time in Sochi, Russia.
"It was amazing," Chara said of his experience, with no hesitation. "Every Olympics are very special, but these Olympics were, I would say, amazing. Really, everything about it, I enjoyed."
The Captain had suited up in two previous Olympics for Slovakia, in 2010 and 2006.
"It was just one of the greatest experiences in my life," he said.
BostonBruins.com - As the Winter Olympics wrapped up in Sochi on Sunday, three Bruins had been awarded medals.
Patrice Bergeron helped Canada win back-to-back gold, as they defeated Sweden 3-0 in Game No. 30 of the 12-day tournament.
Bruins teammate Loui Eriksson had his sights set on gold, but will still be coming back to Boston with the confidence of a silver medal playing for his country.
A day prior, Tuukka Rask had backstopped Finland to the bronze.
The trifecta also comes with Bruins coaching and management involved, as Head Coach Claude Julien spent the past week and a half behind the Team Canada bench, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli kept a close eye on the action with Canada's management team.
The crew they helped put together went undefeated in Sochi, proving dominant with their execution and two final defensive shutout performances en route to gold.
BostonBruins.com - By the time it turned midnight in Sochi on Saturday, Tuukka Rask had a bronze medal draped around his neck.
Backstopping Finland with 27 saves, Rask earned his first Olympic shutout in a 5-0 win over the United States in the bronze medal game.
It was an extension of what the Bruins netminder was able to provide his home country throughout the entire Olympics - and what he does every night in Black & Gold, when he's not donning his nation's blue - and that is a chance to win.
Rask finished the tournament with a .938 save percentage and 1.74 goals-against average through four games. The only loss came in overtime to Canada.
"You see him doing the same thing he does for us," said his Bruins teammate Adam McQuaid, prior the bronze medal game. "He's giving his team a chance to win every game, and in a short tournament like that - you get a hot goalie and you can good things, so no surprise to see him playing as well as he is, and we're all happy for him."
Rask helped Finland to an 8-4 win in his Olympic debut at the start of the Games, before Drew Doughty got one past him for Canada's 2-1 overtime win in the final preliminary round game.
BostonBruins.com - Though Bruins fans hail from all over, there is no doubt the strongest contingent in Boston's backyard.
Olympic hockey often pits Bruin against Bruin, but country against Bruin?
That was the case for many on Friday, as Team USA played against a Canadian team with Patrice Bergeron, along with Coach Claude Julien and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, in the semifinal.
The Bruins' alternate captain will now play for gold against Loui Eriksson and Team Sweden on Sunday, after Canada defeated the United States 1-0.
Sweden won the first semifinal, 2-1, over Finland. Rask did not suit up due to illness. Team USA will now face off against Rask's squad for the bronze on Saturday.
One Bruin will be bringing home gold, with the potential for all three to bring home a medal.
BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson will be playing for the gold medal, as Sweden defeated Finland 2-1 on Friday in Sochi.
Tuukka Rask was not between the pipes for Finland. The goaltender was out due to the flu and did not dress for the game. He reportedly played through symptoms in the quarterfinal against Russia, when he made 37 saves in the 3-1 win.
Kari Lehtonen found out about an hour before game time that he was getting the nod. Henrik Lundqvist minded the net at the other end.
Eriksson scored the game-tying goal for Sweden, putting up goals in back-to-back games at the tournament. Seemingly gaining more confidence each game, as Sweden has won five straight in Sochi, the Bruins winger continues to play in a top role for his country.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins reconvened for practice on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena amidst the Olympic Break, Adam McQuaid was back skating with the group.
Sidelined by a leg injury since January 19, the defenseman had missed the last nine games before the NHL's two-week hiatus.
Prior to the break, he had been working out and started skating, but wasn't yet ready for game action. On Thursday, he spent time with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides on the ice going through the motions, before joining his teammates for the full skate.
It's been a tough season health-wise for McQuaid, who has only suited up in 30 games (dropping the gloves in seven fights to go along with a goal and five assists). He's missed 26 games to various leg/lower-body injuries in stretches of eight or nine games.
"Obviously I missed some time again, and once again, hopefully can kind of ease our way back in here," McQuaid said, following his first practice back with the team since the injury that caused him to leave the Bruins' game in Chicago on January 19.
BostonBruins.com - It was 6:45 p.m. in Sochi, 4:45 p.m. in Finland and 9:45 a.m. in Boston.
But "Tuukka Time" has no geographical boundaries.
Tuukka Rask came out with a stone-cold performance on Wednesday, making 37 saves en route to Finland's 3-1 win over Russia in the quarterfinals, ending the home country's bid for the gold.
Finland will now face Sweden in the semifinals on Friday, February 21, with Rask pitted against Bruins teammate Loui Eriksson.
"Even though no one ever picks us to win medals, we always seem to find a way to get there," Rask told reporters in Sochi following the game.
Although the Finns have never won gold, Finland is coming off a bronze medal in 2010 in Vancouver and is the only country to win three total medals in the tournament since NHL players first began to suit up in the Olympics in 1998.
BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson became the first Bruin in Sochi to advance to the semifinals, as Sweden shut out Slovenia, 5-0, on Wednesday in the opening quarterfinal game. They will face the winner of Finland-Russia.
The Bruin notched a goal and an assist for his first two points of the tournament in the win.
Consistently relied on as a top-two forward for Sweden at the Olympics, Eriksson led forwards on his squad with 17:44 in ice time, playing in all situations. He finished the game with a plus-2 rating.
Sweden earned a 1-0 lead in the first period with their fifth straight power-play goal, but game remained very tight checking, and was mostly played along the boards. Though Slovenia was playing its third game in four days, they didn't give up. It stayed a one-goal game entering the third period.
Just 1:42 into the third period, after good cycling, Eriksson fed Team Sweden linemate Daniel Sedin with a beauty of a pass from the goal line to the bottom of the left circle, which he buried for the 2-0 cushion.
BostonBruins.com - It was a third period any hockey fan would appreciate. The tension was high, the back-and-forth action at a premium, and both sides fought until the end.
Captain Chara and Slovakia fought back from a 4-0 deficit, and kept building steam in the third period, but it was Krejci and the Czech Republic ultimately moving on to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory.
For Krejci, who notched his first goal of the tournament and an assist on the empty-netter that sealed it, the win was showcased in his postgame smile.
For Chara, who played a monster of a game with his team on the brink of elimination, the cause fell short, and represented a difficult week on the ice for his native country.
The Czech Republic finished the preliminary round with one win and two losses. Meanwhile, Slovakia lost all three of their first round games, though they picked up a hard-fought point in the shootout in their final game against Russia.
Heading into the qualification playoff round on Tuesday (February 18) in Sochi, Russia, the two Bruins find themselves facing each other in a situation where the preliminary round no longer matters.
The puck drops at 12:00 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN (9:00 p.m. local time in Sochi).
When the final buzzer sounds, one Bruin and his country will move on, while the journey to a medal will end for the other and his fellow countrymen. The winner will next face the United States in quarterfinal action.