Team USA's 2014 Olympic team was announced Wednesday after the Winter Classic, and the final roster features three players from the St. Louis Blues. The stars and stripes will have Blues captain David Backes, forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk all on their side when the games begin Feb. 7 in Sochi.
Backes was a member of the U.S. team in 2010 when it won the silver medal after losing to Canada in overtime in the gold medal game. Oshie was at the USA Summer Orientation Camp that year, but he was not chosen for the team. Meanwhile, this is Shattenkirk's first time wearing the USA jersey at the professional level, as he has had some past experienced playing for the U.S. at the junior level.
These three Blues are not the only players that we expect to see in Sochi for the Olympics.
Off the ice, head coach Ken Hitchcock will be an assistant coach for Canada while general manager Doug Armstrong will be part of Canada's management group.
This will be the fourth time that Hitchcock will be a part of Canada's Olympic team.
"For me, we had such a good time in 2010 with a great staff, I really enjoyed working with Mike (Babcock) and Lindy (Ruff) and all the management people," Hitchcock said via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "When they asked me if I'd join up, it was kind of a no-brainer, to be honest. I really learned a lot working with these guys. It's just such a great competition, plus learning experience, it's really a no-brainer."
The Blues could see as many as 11 players in the Olympics though, which is certainly a much better number then the three Blues players who played in the 2010 Olympic Games.
Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester could find their way onto Canada's roster. Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund were invited to Sweden's camp back in July, while Vladimir Tarasenko was invited to Russia's camp as well.
The Blues could also see Jaroslav Halak represent Slovakia, while Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka hope to represent the Czech Republic.
The Olympic break will be a great time off for many of the Blues' players. It will give them all a nice mental and physical break from the grueling season, but for the players mentioned above, it will be a great opportunity to represent their country on a global stage.
"It's something that I've always dreamed of," Shattenkirk said via Andrew Allsman of KMOV.com. "It's going to be a great experience. Anytime you can wear that USA jersey, it's always been something special to me and this has always been my ultimate goal."
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