Five Boston Bruins players will be representing their countries in the 2014 Winter Olympics next month, but Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will take on an even greater role for his home nation of Slovakia.
Chara will carry the Slovakian flag during the Olympic opening ceremony, which is set to take place Friday, Feb. 7, in Sochi. It’s a huge honor for the veteran defenseman, but it will also force him to head to Russia a little earlier than the Bruins’ other Olympic competitors.
Head coach Claude Julien confirmed Thursday that Chara’s flag bearer duties will force him to miss at least one game for the Bruins. The team travels to St. Louis for a date with the Blues on Feb. 6 and hosts the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 8 before beginning its two-week Olympic break. Slovakia faces USA in both teams’ openers on Feb. 13 at 7:30 a.m. ET.
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Chara is one of just two Bruins blueliners — along with Torey Krug — who have been able to stay healthy throughout the first half of this season. He has played in 45 of Boston’s 46 games, averaging a team-best 25:03 of ice time and tallying nine goals and 10 assists.