WILMINGTON -- It would be easy for the Bruins to get distracted by Olympic break plans and itineraries for the five players, head coach and GM that are all headed over to Russia, particularly with team captain Zdeno Chara already en route to the Sochi Winter Games for his once-in-a-lifetime chance to bear the flag for his native Slovakia.
It’s by no means the biggest contingent heading to Russia from an NHL organization, but Boston’s key figures will all be major cogs for their home countries.
Still, the Bruins also have two games remaining before the break officially commences. That means a focused team effort on preparing for St. Louis (Thursday) and Ottawa (Saturday) before their collective minds are allowed to wander.
That might be a little more difficult with players such as Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic excited about a February vacation to the Dominican Republic, made possible with the help of Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, or Bruins backup netminder Chad Johnson headed for a resort in Mexico.
B's players such as David Krejci, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask have willingly spoken about their Olympic expectations. Still, they’ve also framed it within the priority of their No. 1 job with their NHL team.
That goes double for coach Claude Julien, who was asked about it after practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday.
“We haven’t really mentioned anything about the Olympics because it doesn’t affect a ton of people here,” said Claude Julien. “Right now, it really is about us, and those things don’t start until next week.
“We are professionals, and we have a job to do. You focus on the job that’s in front of you rather than what’s facing you a week away. Our guys have done a good job in this last stretch playing some sound hockey. It’s not always perfect, but it’s been good enough to be the better team at the end of the night, and to win hockey games.”
Boston’s focus has been keenly sharp over the past three weeks while building a 10-4-1 record since Jan. 1. There’s no reason to think that will change even as the Olympic break gets closer for Bruins players, coaches and management.