WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Boston Bruins will be one of the best-represented NHL teams at the upcoming Winter Olympics, which means these few weeks leading up to the Sochi Games could be a stressful time for that group.
Preparing for the Olympics during an NHL season probably is tough enough. And with security threats and risks in Russia dominating much of the discussion leading up to the Winter Games, it’s only natural to be a little apprehensive about the trip.
The Bruins’ six Olympians — five players, as well as head coach Claude Julien, who’s an assistant for Team Canada — have been left with the difficult decision as to whether or not they’ll bring family members with them to the Olympics. That decision still is up in the air for some, two weeks before the games.
Bruins center David Krejci, who will play for the Czech Republic, said Thursday that he has told his family to stay home and not attend. However, at least one member of his family isn’t going to listen.
“I told my family not to go, but my mom wants to go, so I can’t stop her,” Krejci said after Bruins practice. “I would prefer if she wouldn’t go, and I understand everybody that doesn’t want their families to go.”
Several national teams received emailed terrorist threats Wednesday, according to reports. That comes on the heels of recent suicide bombings in the region, and militants reportedly have issued threats about planning attacks targeting next month’s Olympics.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has pledged that he’ll do all he can to keep athletes safe as the world turns its attention to the games. The participating athletes also have been promised that all will be done to ensure their safety while they’re in Russia.
“It’s kind of a scary situation,” Krejci added. “I’m pretty sure the Russian president is going to take care of everything and make the Olympic Games safe.
“I’ve been reading the papers and watching TV. I know there is lots of talk about it. I know they’re sending a lot of military people over there. It’s going to be interesting. You kind of don’t know what you’re getting into.”
That risk still was enough for Krejci to try and keep his family away, which is what Julien also is doing. The coach’s wife might attend the games, but that’s yet to be decided.
“That’s still a debate right now,” Julien said. “If anything, it will be my wife, but that’s still under debate right now. There is some concern, like everybody else. But there’s concern everywhere else. I think it’s been exposed more because of what it represents, but it’s a decision we’ll make later.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron also is among those telling family to stay home. Bergeron told CSNNE.com that his family won’t come to Russia to see him play for Team Canada.
“It’s something obviously — we know that the security is going to be there, and hopefully they’re going to take care of that,” Bergeron said Monday night after the Bruins’ win over the Los Angeles Kings. “It’s something that we’ve heard over the past few weeks and months, but to be honest, I haven’t thought about the Olympics yet, I’m still here, but I’m not necessarily concerned about it. I’m confident that the security is going to handle it. “
Joining Bergeron, Julien and Krejci in Sochi will be forward Loui Eriksson (Sweden), goalie Tuukka Rask (Finland) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (Slovakia).