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Thursday, January 16, 2014
Chara to carry flag, may miss games

By Todd Wills
Special to ESPN.com

DALLAS -- Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will carry the Slovakian flag for the Olympic opening ceremony at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

It likely means Chara will miss one or two games for the Bruins leading up to the NHL's Olympic break. The opening ceremony is Feb. 7, and the Bruins have games against St. Louis on Feb. 6, and Ottawa on Feb. 8.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and his staff are in support of Chara missing time to carry his country's flag.

"[Chara] talked to us about that, came to Peter and I and addressed it, and Peter approved it, and certainly with my support," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters at Thursday's morning skate. "When you look at what Z has done for this club, I think it's an easy decision to make, because you're carrying your country's flag at the Olympics.

"And even if he misses a game and maybe two, I think that's the least we can do for a guy who's given us so much since he's been here."

Chara will play in his third straight Olympics and again be the captain for Team Slovakia.

Chara thanked the Bruins for the opportunity to leave the team early to carry his country's flag.

"They really made this possible," Chara said of the Bruins' front office. "I thank the Slovakian Olympic organization for giving me the honor. It's a lifetime experience and it's very humbling and I'm honored to do that."

Chara wasn't sure on whether he will miss one or two games.

"I don't know exactly the dates," Chara said. "I'm sure I'll miss one game. The possibility of just missing one game. We'll see how it goes."