Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Three Blues Chosen to Play in World Cup

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Three Blues Chosen to Play in World Cup

Article excerpt

At the last major international hockey competition, the 2014 Sochi Olympics, there were 10 Blues selected to play. When the preliminary rosters were announced for hockey's next big deal, the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the number of Blues wasn't quite so big.

Only three Blues were on the eight 16-man preliminary rosters revealed Wednesday. All three players are from Europe: Vladimir Tarasenko (Russia), Alexander Steen (Sweden) and Jori Lehtera (Finland). (As befits the Blues this season, two of those three, Steen and Lehtera, haven't played recently because of injuries.) No Blues were chosen, at least at this stage, by Team USA or Team Canada, nor were any players chosen by Team North America, the squad made up of players 23 and under.

That doesn't mean there won't be. All three teams have room for three more defensemen and four more forwards, so players such as David Backes and Kevin Shattenkirk (USA), Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester (Canada) or Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko (North America) could still get invites. Final rosters will be announced by June 1 for the tournament, which will be held in Toronto starting Sept. 17 and running through Oct. 1.

Also named to rosters on Wednesday were Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop, a St. Louis native, chosen by Team USA, and forward Vladimir Sobotka (Czech Republic), who is playing in the KHL but owes the Blues a season if he ever returns to the NHL. Former Blue T.J. Oshie, traded to Washington after last season, was among the early choices for Team USA.

General managers of the teams were quick to note that a lot of players are still in consideration for the remaining spots, and that the ones announced Wednesday were the easy ones. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who is also serving as the general manager of Team Canada, said, "We're going to the World Cup as a group of 23, not 16 and an additional seven. …

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