News broke today that Zdeno Chara will carry the Slovakian flag into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Quite the honor for Chara, who's really looking forward to the Olympics and being a flag bearer:
"It a big honor. It's a big thing. It's the biggest sports event, so anytime you can be part of it is a huge honor, and being selected as Captain is obviously another huge honor," said Chara.
"It's something very unique because you see so many different athletes in one place and you have some chances to talk to them, and be part of other events where you can watch it live – the whole experience is very unique, because everybody's kind of following that specific time of the year with the Olympics."
"It's really just a great privilege and honor."
The bad news is that the opening ceremony takes palce on February 7th and Boston plays the
Lightning Blueson February 6th and then against the Senators on the 8th before the Olympic break. Despite possibly missing one or two games, the Boston Bruins have giving Chara their blessing to leave early:
“When you look at what Z has done for this club, I think it’s an easy decision to make,” Claude Julien said. “You’re carrying your country’s flag at the Olympics. 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.”
"We looked at it for the right reasons, and that was for the fact that he gets to carry his country's flag and it's great for him," said Julien. "We're going to miss him, I think it's pretty obvious you miss a guy like that, but he's been such a committed player for us on and off the ice. He would have taken whatever answer we would have given him, but I think, to me, it was an easy decision and I'm glad Peter made that decision."
We're stoked for Chara and he deserves the opportunity to be Slovaki's flag bearer. And we're pretty sure he's logged in enough overtime with the Bruins that we're not entirely surprised the organization is totally cool with this. It does suck when you consider how banged up the Bruins blue line is now and if it doesn't get better by early February, the idea of losing Chara for a couple of games is nightmarish. It could be a peak at Boston's worst case scenario… or it could really give some younger guys a chance to shine (though, the loss of Seids should do that, too). We're expecing Boston to bounce back to form by then anyways.
This is a great honor for Chara and we'll be smiling right along with him as that flag waves high in Sochi. And if you don't like the idea, well…