NHL hockey team Boston Bruins Slovak player Zdeno Chara, left, and his Czech team-mate David Krejci, right, pose in front of a poster after arriving in Prague on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. Boston will face Phoenix Coyotes next week on two NHL Premiere games in Prague. (AP Photo,CTK/Katerina Sulova)
In early October 2010, the Boston Bruins traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to kick the season off. It marked the first time in fifty years that the Bruins played on European ice when they joined the Rangers on a ten game tour during the 1958-59 season. It was also home sweet home for Captain Zdeno Chara and David Krejci. The short trip to Prague soon became the beginning of a remarkable season.
A trip to Europe may have been just what the doctor ordered after that epic collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers months earlier. The trip over seas gave the team time away from home to become closer with one another and to bond for a long and grueling season. The Phoenix Coyotes were also in town to challenge the Bruins early in the season. The teams split the two game series with the Coyotes taking the first game 5-2. In the second game however, there was a spark of life out of a not so distant hero. Tuukka Rask started the first game, but little did everybody know at the time there was a Vezina in the making. Tim Thomas got the nod from coach Claude Julien in game two and quickly proved that his surgically repaired hip was healthy and ready for a big workload by posting a 3-0 shutout.
After such disappointment the season prior, the Bruins needed a fresh start to the 2010-11 season. An early trip to Europe later turned into a division championship, conference championship, Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, the all time save percentage record , and of course, the Stanley Cup Championship.