Boston Bruins

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 29: China Men's National Hockey team practices at the National Indoor Stadium leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that the National Hockey League’s decision to opt out of the 2022 Olympics has hurt the star power of the upcoming men’s hockey tournament in Beijing.

It’s especially painful for those of us in the United States, as the 2021-22 season has been dominated by some wildly strong seasons from American-born talents, and doubly painful for potential first- or last-time Olympians on the Bruins such as as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

But the 2022 games with some familiar faces for those of us in Boston, with countless former Bruins both from the recent and reeeeeeeal distant past playing potentially prominent roles for their country.

  • Kenny Agostino (Forward, United States)

    BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 19: Kenny Agostino #18 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against Anders Nilsson #31 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at TD Garden on October 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    From the era of the Bruins trying to find diamonds in the rough, Kenny Agostino came to the Bruins in 2017 on the heels of an AHL MVP award and a chance to stick as a potential middle-six find.

    That, uh, did not work out, as Agostino appeared in just five games with the Big B’s during his one-year run in Boston. Agostino did, however, finish the year as the P-Bruins’ second-leading scorer behind Austin Czarnik, with 16 goals and 53 points in 67 games.

    Agostino, a native of New Jersey, then bounced to another three NHL organizations, and now calls the KHL home, where he plays for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.

  • Peter Cehlarik (Forward, Slovakia)

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 16: Peter Cehlarik #22 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    It’s been quite the two-year journey for ex-Bruins prospect Peter Cehlarik. After being written out of the Bruins’ plans, Cehlarik landed with Sweden’s Leksands in 2020-21 and put up a team-leading 20 goals, and turned the out clause he had in that deal into a contract with Omsk Avangard of the KHL for 2021-22, where he’s scored 14 goals and 25 points in 39 games. Now, it’s off to Beijing, where Cehlarik will represent Slovakia at the Olympic stage for the first time in his career. Fortunately for him, there’s no Bruce Cassidy there to prevent him from being a super-useful player or whatever.

  • Kaspars Daugavins (Forward, Latvia)

    BOSTON, MA – JUNE 19: Kaspars Daugavins #16 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    The Daugman is still kicking around. A late-season addition during the 2013 season, Daugavins appeared in six regular season and six postseason games for the Bruins during his time in Boston. His Boston history is a painful one, too, as Daugavins missed a wide-open net in the third overtime of a heartbreaking loss in the opening game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

    (Man, it still hurts.)

    Since then, the now 33-year-old forward has bounced between six different teams in the Swiss League and KHL, and currently plays for Bern SC, with eight goals and 20 points in 27 appearances this year.

  • Landon Ferraro (Forward, Canada)

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 01: Landon Ferraro #29 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Calgary Flames during the first period at TD Garden on March 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Claimed off waivers early in the 2015-16 season, center Landon Ferraro recorded a career-high five goals and 10 points during his 58-game run with the Bruins. Ferraro, the son of ex-NHL forward and current broadcaster Ray Ferraro, would go on to play just two more NHL games following his departure from the Bruins, and has spent the last three years in the DEL.

  • Steven Kampfer (Defense, United States)

    WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 11: Steve Kampfer #44 of the Boston Bruins handles the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period of the game at Capital One Arena on May 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    A dependable depth defenseman for the Bruins throughout his second run with the franchise from 2018-21, Kampfer departed for a deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan last season, and has certainly made the most of that opportunity, with 11 goals and 30 points through his first 46 games in the KHL. Those 30 points are actually the sixth-most among all KHL defenders this season, while his 11 goals are the second-most among that group.

  • Martins Karsums (Forward, Latvia)

    NEWARK, NJ – FEBRUARY 13: Martins Karsums #43 of the Boston Bruins skates against Jamie Langenbrunner #15 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 13, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    What a complete blast from the past. For additional context on that, consider this: Martin Karsums was involved in trades with the likes of Jozef Stumpel (the Bruins acquired the draft pick they used on Karsums in the Stumpel-t0-LA trade in 2003) as well as Mark Recchi, as the Bruins threw Karsums in the 2009 deadline deal to bring Recchi to Boston.

    The No. 64 overall pick from the 2004 NHL Draft, Karsums appeared in six games for the Bruins during the 2008-09 season, and played another 18 games for the Lightning before departing back overseas in 2009.

    Karsums has been a KHL fixture since then, with 523 appearances between Riga Dynamo, Moscow Dynamo, and Moscow Spartak. Karsums even had a one-year stint in the DEL for the Krefeld Penguins, but returned to Riga for the 2021-22 season.

    This will be the third Olympic run for Karsums, having previously represented Latvia in 2010 and 2014.

  • Joonas Kemppainen (Forward, Finland)

    BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 12: Joonas Kemppainen #41 of the Boston Bruins looks on during warm ups before the game against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden on November 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    A 6-foot-3, 185-pound center, the Bruins took a low-risk, high-reward gamble on Finnish center Joonas Kemppainen following a breakout 2015 postseason with Karpat of the Finnish Liiga, where he scored 10 goals and 24 points in 19 games.

    That gamble didn’t really pay off, as Kemppainen failed to provide much of anything (the Bruins waived him down to Providence after he scored two goals and five points in 44 appearances). Kemppainen has spent the last six years in the KHL, and in his third season with St. Petersburg SKA, with 13 goals an 27 points in 40 games in 2021-22.

  • David Krejci (Forward, Czech Republic)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden on April 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    With the NHL out of these games, and with a limited talent pool elsewhere, it’s entirely possible that David Krejci is entering the 2022 Olympics as the tournament’s top talent. That may be nothing new to the 35-year-old this year, to be honest, as the ex-Bruins center has certainly made the most of his return to the Czech League in 2021-22, with 17 goals and 36 points in 42 games for Olomouc HC. Krejci’s 36 points are tied for the 13th-most in the Czech League.

    This will be Krejci’s first time representing his country since the 2018 World Championships, and will be Krejci’s third Olympic run overall. Krejci has totaled three goals and six points in 10 games for the Czech Republic at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

    UPDATE; Krejci has tested positive for COVD-19 in Beijing. 

  • Aaron Ness (Defense, United States)

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 31: U.S. Olympian Aaron Douglas Ness tries on clothes at Polo Ralph Lauren during Team USA athlete processing ahead of Beijing 2022 on January 31, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOPC)

    A Minnesota native, Aaron Ness spent training camp with the Bruins and has appeared in 31 games for the P-Bruins this season. That makes him a rarity given the NHL’s subsequent opt out of the games in Beijing due to the ongoing pandemic. But the 31-year-old was given the OK to report to Beijing for the 2022 Olympics given his contractual status, as the journeyman defender was signed to an AHL-only deal prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.

    This will be the first time Ness has donned a USA jersey since the 2008 U-18 World Juniors.

  • Joakim Nordstrom (Forward, Sweden)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 15: Joakim Nordstrom #20 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on February 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Nordy!

    A bottom-six plumber for the Bruins from 2018 through 2020, Nordstrom chipped in with 11 goals and 19 points in 118 games during his B’s tenure. But Nordstrom made his greatest impact on the Boston penalty kill, with a forward-leading 1:46 of shorthanded time on ice per game for a kill that ranked seventh in the NHL (82 percent) during his time in town.

    Nordstrom appeared in 44 games with the Flames during the 2021 season with the Flames, and has totaled three goals and 14 points in 27 games with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow this season.

  • Jeremy Smith (Goalie, China)

    BEIJING, CHINA – JANUARY 29: China Men’s National Hockey team practices at the National Indoor Stadium leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on January 29, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    A native of Dearborn, Michigan, goaltender Jeremy Smith will make his Olympic debut for Team China at the 2022 Olympics. (Yes, you read that right.) With China granted an entry in the tournament as the host nation, the lack of Chinese-born talents has allowed China to build a team that is, well, just the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star roster.

    The 32-year-old Smith did not draw into game action for the Big B’s during his time with the organization, but the Bruins did have Smith serve as the team’s backup multiple times during the 2015-16 season.

  • Vladimir Sobotka (Forward, Czech Republic)

    PHILADELPHIA – MAY 07: Vladimir Sobotka #60 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    If you’re looking for a nice story in these Olympics, look no further than ex-Bruins center Vladimir Sobotka, who is set to make his Olympics debut at the age of 34. This will actually be Sobotka’s first time wearing a Czech Republic jersey since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and first true international appearance since the 2015 World Championships.

    Drafted by the Bruins with the No. 106 overall pick in 2005, Sobotka scored six goals and 22 points during his 134-game run with the Bruins from 2007 through 2010 before the Bruins traded him to St. Louis for the rights to then-Boston University defenseman David Warsofsky. (Interestingly enough, the story goes that the Bruins made that trade with the idea that they had to decide between Sobotka and Brad Marchand entering the 2010-11 season. Safe to say they made the right call.)

    After his Boston departure, Sobotka would go on to play over 300 games with the Blues and another season-plus with the Sabres before heading back overseas following the 2019-20 season. Sobotka has spent the last two years with Sparta Praha of the Czech League, where he’s scored 18 goals and 62 points in 69 games, including 11 goals and 31 points in 33 games this year.

  • David Warsokfsky (Defense, United States)

    BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 21: David Warsofsky #79 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Buffalo Sabres during the game at TD Garden on December 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

    If I’ve learned anything from these Olympics so far, it’s that whoever built Team USA absolutely loved the B’s defensive depth of yesteryear. Or the Bruins loved future Olympians. One or the other. Another former Bruin, Warsofsky made 10 appearances for the Big B’s from 2013 through 2015, and was one of the P-Bruins’ mainstays during his time with the organization, as his 230 appearances with Providence are the 19th-most in franchise history

    A veteran of 55 NHL games between the Bruins, Devils, Penguins, and Avalanche, Warsofsky’s first international nod since 2016 comes with the 31-year-old in a midst of a five-goal and 19-point campaign for Ingolstadt ERC of the DEL.

    The Marshfield, Mass. native is also one of five Massachusetts natives on this year’s roster, joining Matty Beniers (Hingham), Marc McLaughin (Billerica), Sean Farrell (Hopkinton), and Drew Commesso (Norwell) as the Massholes on Team USA.

  • Craig Ramsay (Head coach, Slovakia)

    ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 25: Atlanta Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsey speaks with the media prior to the Thrashers game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Philips Arena on March 25, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The 70-year-old Ramsay, a well-traveled coach who spent his entire 1,000-plus game playing career with the Sabres and won a Selke Trophy during his on-ice days before beginning a coaching career in 1986, will serve as Slovakia’s head coach for the second straight Olympics. So, what’s the lifelong Sabre’s connection to the Bruins? Well, Ramsay was part of Claude Julien’s initial staff in Boston, and served as one of Julien’s assistants from 2007 through 2010.

  • Alexei Zhamnov (Head coach, Russia)

    TORONTO – DECEMBER 23: Alex Zhamnov #10 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on December 23, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs beat the Bruins 2-1. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

    Signed to a three-year, $12.3 million contract coming out of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Zhamnov’s career in Boston included just one goal and 10 points in 24 games before a shattered ankle ended his season and NHL career. Zhamnov has since rebounded, however, as a head coach and general manager in the KHL, and will take his coaching talents to the international stage in 2022 as the head coach of the Russian squad in this year’s games.