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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
As Sochi nears, Julien eyes Team Canada

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- While the Olympic roster for Team USA was announced Wednesday as part of the NHL’s Winter Classic celebration, Team Canada will wait until the Jan. 7 deadline to announce its players.

Both Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli (adviser) and coach Claude Julien (assistant coach) are involved with Team Canada. They are concentrating on their respective duties in Boston, but as the Winter Olympics in Sochi are quickly approaching, Julien continues to do his homework on possible roster selections for Team Canada.

“We still have to keep our eye on players,” Julien said. “As you know, there are going to be some really good players left behind because we could easily make more than one team. Those bubble guys, and those guys we’re looking at, this is a week where we have to keep a close eye on to make that last decision.”

The Bruins will be well represented in Sochi. Forward Patrice Bergeron (Canada), goaltender Tuukka Rask (Finland), defenseman Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), forward David Krejci (Czech) and forward Loui Eriksson (Sweden) will all represent their countries.

There’s also a possibility forward Milan Lucic will earn a roster spot for Team Canada.

“He’s been on the list since Day 1,” Julien said.

Following the Bruins’ practice Wednesday at TD Garden, Julien spoke about what it will be like to coach against his players at the Olympics.

“There’s no doubt you don’t want to see them get hurt, you just want to see them get beat,” Julien said.

He also made it a point to discuss how excited he is to be a member of Team Canada’s coaching staff.

“It’s great. It’s an honor and I’m not saying that lightly,” Julien said. “It is a great honor to represent your country in the Olympics. I would’ve never made it as an athlete, so it’s nice to get a chance as a coach. It’s great and I’m looking forward to it. There’s no doubt I’m still in Bruins mode right now, but the minute you get there, or take off to go there that’s when all the excitement and intensity starts.”

Rask, who is 20-9-2 with a 1.99 goals-against average in 32 games this season, is also looking forward to the Olympics if he earns a spot, which appears likely.

“I just hope I’m there,” Rask said.

The Bruins’ netminder is on pace to play a career high in games this season, so he understands how playing in the Olympics will add to his workload.

“You go there, you represent your country and you have to play as hard as you can,” Rask said. “Then again, there are guys who are getting 10 days of rest and they’re going to be totally rested after that break.

“For the people who play in the Olympics it might not be as good of a break. Then again, you can’t really say ‘no’ because you want to go there. It’s only every four years, so you just have to suck it up and play there, come back and play good here, too. It’s just one of those things you have to live with as a professional hockey player. You have to try to enjoy it and get your rest when you can.”

There have been two deadly bombings in Russia near Sochi recently, so security has been a major topic as the Olympics draw near.

“You have to trust the system that nothing happens,” Rask said. “You can’t really live your life in fear. I hope nothing stupid happens during the Olympics. I know there have been talks about it that the threat might be there, but I’m not too concerned. I’ll just go there and play hockey and hope all goes well.

“It’s a sad truth there’s some crazy people in this world,” added Rask.

Julien was also asked to discuss the unrest in Russia.

“I think those kinds of things are everywhere nowadays,” he said. “It’s been in this country, it’s been everywhere and there are always things happening. There’s no doubt security is going to be beefed up even more.

“As I’ve said before, I don’t want to go living my life with fear. You live your life to the fullest and you do the best you can and try to hopefully be in the right places at the right time and not having to be part of those situations. We’ve got to trust the people that are going to be in charge of security and feel comfortable.”