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Three Blues named to Team USA Olympic roster

2014-01-01T15:56:00Z 2014-01-02T05:25:05Z Three Blues named to Team USA Olympic rosterBy Jeremy Rutherford jrutherford@post-dispatch.com 314-444-7135 stltoday.com

David Backes is going back and he's taking Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie with him. 

Team USA announced its 25-man roster for the upcoming Olympic Games, and the Blues held three spots with the selections of two of their forwards and one defenseman.

Backes, the Blues' captain, will be making his second trip to the Olympics, after helping the Americans win a silver medal in Vancouver in 2010. Shattenkirk and Oshie will be making their Olympic debuts.

"It's something that I've always kind of dreamed of," Shattenkirk said before the announcement. "It's just going to be a great experience if I have that opportunity. I really am looking forward to it. Anytime you can wear that USA jersey, it's always been something pretty special to me and this has been the ultimate goal to get there."

Backes, who is a member of Team USA's leadership group, has 16 goals and 30 points in 35 games with the Blues this season. Oshie has a team-high 27 assists in 39 games. Shattenkirk has six goals and 28 points, which ranks fourth among all NHL defensemen.

"The thing I'm proudest of, on the American side, the guys that we have that are qualified have done everything they can to make this hockey club," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who will be an assistant coach with Team Canada. "Backes, Oshie and Shattenkirk have all had really, really good first halves of the year."

The Blues could have as many as 11 players participating in the Olympics for their respective countries. In addition to Backes, Shattenkirk and Oshie, the list includes: Alex Pietrangelo (Canada), Jay Bouwmeester (Canada), Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia), Roman Polak (Czech Republic), Vladimir Sobotka (Czech Republic), Alexander Steen (Sweden), Patrik Berglund (Sweden) and Vladimir Tarasenko (Russia). 

Jeremy is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @jprutherford.

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