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World Cup

Alex Pietrangelo focused on training for World Cup

After busy summer, Blues captain turns attention to helping Team Canada

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- It has been an eventful summer for St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Pietrangelo already knew he'd be a member of Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which starts Sept. 17, but from getting married to his fiancée, Jayne, in July, to building a second house in his hometown of King City, Ontario, to go with his home in St. Louis, to being named the 21st captain in Blues history on Thursday, Pietrangelo has had a full plate.

He hasn't allowed all the good things in his life to stop his training for the World Cup.

The majority of the players on Team Canada, one of the favorites to win the World Cup, were members of the Canada roster that won the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm4: Pietrangelo hits Benn into the boards

"It's been a busy summer, getting married and all that. I had to flip the switch pretty quick," Pietrangelo said. "It's a little different having to play a month earlier than normal, but definitely excited to start the season. It's certainly going to be a fun tournament.

"For me, I've played with a lot of these guys at the Olympics so to be able to reunite with most of them and have the opportunity to do something special again as a group, that's a good feeling and it's going to be some of the best hockey I've ever been a part of. I'm lucky and privileged to be named to that team."

Pietrangelo will be joined on Team Canada's roster at the World Cup by Blues teammate Jay Bouwmeester, a late replacement for injured defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Team Canada opens its training camp Sept. 5 in Ottawa.

The Blues ended last season with a six-game loss to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final. With Pietrangelo and St. Louis hoping for another long playoff run this season, he has given a lot of thought to how much to train and when to scale back.

Video: STL@CHI, Gm6: Pietrangelo beats Crawford to gain lead

"I hit the ice a few weeks earlier than normal," Pietrangelo said. "I've been trying to do more game situation stuff sooner rather than later. I've tried to mix that in with some skill stuff, too. ... You try and get to the point where you've got to amp up your energy and amp up your strength a month earlier than you normally do. It's been different, but at the same time, it kind of gives you a different look on what it would be like if you played into the final for the Stanley Cup.

"It really was a quick turnaround [after the playoffs]. You try and take a couple weeks off. Everybody needs two or three weeks to kind of take a break and regroup. The funny part for me having to play this long was you don't want to take too much time off, because your summers are cut short, but at the same time, you want to make sure you have enough time off because you played so long.

"I feel good where I'm at. I feel like I took enough time off. I feel like I've been training hard enough where I'm ready to go right now. You've got to enjoy your summer, but at the same time, you've got to make sure you get the work in."

Playing in Toronto will certainly place added pressure on Team Canada to not only perform well, but win the tournament. Pietrangelo said the team is talented enough where that won't be an issue.

"You're in Toronto, you're in the Mecca of hockey, too," Pietrangelo said. "... If you can put it on your resume again to represent the country, it's a good feeling for one, to get named to the team, and hopefully to win it all.

Video: STL@COL: Pietrangelo tallies off a faceoff win

"You can't go wrong with the guys they picked. We're lucky to have an abundance of talent to choose from. You start looking at the young team, Team North America, where you have a lot of young guys, whether it's the next World Cup or the next Olympics, really have an opportunity to challenge for more roster spots.

"So for us as a country, we're proud of the players we've generated to this point. The future's only looking better for us. [Blues defenseman] Colton [Parayko] is one of those players that's going to be in that spotlight [for Team North America]. This is good preparation for guys like him, and good for whether it's Canada or anywhere in the world to have these kids playing against the best players for future events."

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