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Notebook: Blues Have Olympic Hopefuls

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
David Backes (center) and T.J. Oshie played for Team USA at the IIHF World Championships in April. Both are hoping to be considered for the Olympic roster at the Winter Games in February (Getty Images).
T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Erik Johnson participated this week in an Olympic Orientation Camp near Chicago. The three players were invited to the camp to get introduced to the USA Hockey program, which will ice a team in the Winter Olympics in February.

Oshie, Backes and Johnson hope attending camp, which concludes Wednesday, will put them under consideration for the Team USA roster.

“It’s pretty exciting thinking about being a part of something like that in 2010,” Johnson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday. “Along with winning the Stanley Cup, winning a gold medal has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.”

Blues forward Andy McDonald was invited to Olympic Orientation Camp for Team Canada, which will be held Aug. 24-27 in Calgary.

The NHL will take a two-week break from its season in February to allow players to participate in the Olympic Games.

With Roman Polak agreeing to a new contract last month and Johnson getting medical clearance to play, the Blues defense is taking shape.

Johnson has been skating for the past few weeks and participated in the team’s Pro-Orientation Camp in July.

“I was away from the game for awhile, but I had some time to figure things out and get back in shape,” he said. “It was tough (to not be playing), but it’s good to put the work in and see where I am right now.

“The knee is good, I have no issues. I’m just ready to go and keep working hard and keep gearing towards the season.”

In addition, Blues prospect Alex Pietrangelo has been working out this summer with Nelson Ayotte, the team’s strength and conditioning coach. Pietrangelo said he hopes to be wearing the BlueNote when the season starts this October.

“I’ve been (in St. Louis) for pretty much the whole summer, and this is where I want to play. I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Pietrangelo said. “I’ll do everything in my power to ensure I’m wearing a BlueNote come September.

“I have to do what I do best. You have to come here, impress and work as hard as you can. Everything else will (take care of itself).”

Each Wednesday leading up to the start of Training Camp, Blues play-by-play broadcaster Chris Kerber is hosting a radio show to discuss Blues hockey.

The show originates from a diffferent location in the St. Louis area each week and features various Blues guests.

The show airs from 6-8 p.m. and fans are invited to attend the shows, where they can meet the guests and register to win great prizes, including Blues tickets and a suite to an upcoming Blues game.

Click here for more details or go to for the location and on-air guests prior to each week’s show.

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