The Boston Bruins‘ early playoff exit has opened up the chance for team members to suit up in their home country’s jerseys and go over to Finland and Sweden for the 2012 World Championships, which will begin on May 4. As of April 30, two Bruins have decided to attend: Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) and David Krejci (Czech Republic).
Chara joins fellow NHLers like Buffalo‘s Andrej Sekera and Florida‘s Tomas Kopecky. It will be his first time representing his home country since the bronze medal game at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Reportedly, he needed to really use the power of persuasion to have the Bruins brass give him permission to go because of his broken nose. But he said it was an easy decision and he looks forward to playing for Slovakia, a team that may need his giant presence–if they can make the quarterfinals, they might get to the top nine in IIHF rankings and earn a bye to the 2014 Olympics. This is his seventh World Championships tournament.
Krejci joins fellow NHLers like Chicago‘s Michael Frolik, Edmonton‘s Ales Hemsky and Montreal‘s Tomas Plekanec. Like Chara, this is his first time representing his homeland since the Vancouver Games. The Czech team has been pretty good at Worlds–they won bronze in 2011 and gold in 2010, plus they come into this year’s tourney ranked fourth among all countries. This is Krejci’s second World Championships tournament.
The 16 countries going to Worlds are split into two groups of eight for the preliminary round. Slovakia is part of the group that will begin the tournament in Helsinki, whereas the Czech Republic will start out in Stockholm. Semifinal and medal action will be entirely in Helsinki.
There are no Bruins at this time on Team USA or Team Canada, both of which are full to bursting with NHL talent.
NBC Sports Network is beefing up its Worlds coverage by airing many Team USA games, including May 7’s matchup with Slovakia. The channel will also air at least one semifinal game and the gold medal game, even if Team USA isn’t in them. Check out their broadcasting schedule here. (The time difference may look daunting, but hey, DVR it if you got it!) The schedule for every game, including Slovakia’s and the Czech Republic’s, can be found here.
To see a full list of players on each country’s roster, click here.