The Olympics may be six months away, but the process to select the teams has already begun.
Several countries are holding Olympic Orientation Camps this week, and more than a handful of Blues are in attendance in hopes to being selected to represent their countries.
David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk are attending Team USA’s Orientation Camp, while defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester are paired up at Canada’s camp.
In addition, Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund are skating with Team Sweden, while Vladimir Tarasenko is attending Russia’s camp.
“It’s been fun. It’s been a little surreal,” Shattenkirk said of USA’s Orientation Camp. “You’re not really used to the fact that this could be a possibility and is six months away from you. It’s fun right now and an enjoyable experience.”
When Olympic teams get selected, it’s possible the Blues have as many as 11 players in the 2014 Winter Games. In addition to the eight Blues attending orientation camps, Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka are good candidates for the Czech Republic, while goaltender Jaroslav Halak will be looking to play for Slovakia again.
Oshie, who hasn’t yet played in the Olympics, would be thrilled to be selected to Team USA. “It’d be something very special. I don’t even know if I can describe the feeling,” Oshie said. “It would mean everything to me and my family and everything I’ve worked for my whole life.”
Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock will serve as an Assistant Coach for Team Canada. GM Doug Armstrong will again serve as Canada’s Associate Director of Player Personnel.
The 2014 Winter Games will be held from Feb. 7 – 23 in Sochi, Russia.