SOCHI, Russia – Sitting on the plane amongst the plethora of his St. Hau oli Kikaha Jersey . Louis Blues teammates who would also be participating in the Olympics, Alex Pietrangelo felt right at home, no different in some ways to the travel experience of any old road trip – save for the length of the journey, that is. It wasnt until he touched base on the ground here in Sochi and separated from all but his Team Canada teammate and defensive partner Jay Bouwmeester that the magnitude of what lay ahead really set in. The 24-year-old Pietrangelo is among the youngest to wear the red Maple Leaf in 2014 as youth infuses what was previously a veteran-laden squad. Like fellow youngsters 23-year-old Matt Duchene, 24-year-old Jamie Benn, 23-year-old John Tavares and 24-year-old P.K. Subban, he is getting his first opportunity (of many) on the grandest stage and his NHL head coach couldnt be happier for it. "Hes just going to get better," said Ken Hitchcock, the bench boss in St. Louis and an assistant coach for Team Canada. "Any time you can experience something like this, it makes you a better player." The chance to train, practice and play amongst the countrys very best and compete, in the days ahead, opposite the worlds very best is a large part of the appeal as is the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage. But in advising his Blues centerpiece prior to the Olympics, Hitchcock wanted Pietrangelo to absorb and understand just how high and intense the hockey will get, even amongst his own NHL teammates and future opponents. "Like dont expect Patrick Berglund to be what he is. Hes going to go up another level," Hitchcock said of the Blues centre, one among 10 players from St. Louis selected to play in these games, tied with Chicago and Detroit for the most in the NHL. "Dont expect Alex Steen to be what he is. Hes going to go up another level and thats just the way it is. "So dont be surprised because people play with passion ... Their sweaters and the crest on their sweaters is just as important for them as it is us. I said just dont be surprised by everybodys A-game when its out there." Pietrangelo has also heeded the advice of Bouwmeester – who is set to participate in his second Olympics – peppering the 30-year-old in the days and weeks leading up to their arrival in Russia. "I was able to pick his brain about the experience and he was pretty much bang on with everything he said," said Pietrangelo, who has 41 points in 57 games for the Blues this season. The best part, Bouwmeester advised, was the opportunity to take in the Olympic experience alongside other Canadians, not just those on the two hockey teams, but skiers, curlers, skaters, those in sports unfamiliar to the King City, Ontario native. "You see the skaters, you see the skiers on TV and you know that youre part of that group," Pietrangelo said. "Youre sitting in the lunch hall, the dinner hall now and you see them and you say hi and then you go out there and watch them on TV, its pretty special." On the ice, it was absorbing the complexities of the bigger international ice surface and systems employed by head coach Mike Babcock. Technical questions leveled at Hitchcock at an instructive Tuesday afternoon practice. "...he wanted to know, on defensive reads, whats his role because we play a different way [in St. Louis], especially on the back-check," Hitchcock said, noting Pietrangelos studious nature. The fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft is part of a youth revolution thats gradually crept into Team Canada and the hockey world. It was quietly prominent in Vancouver when a 21-year-old Jonathan Toews, 20-year-old Drew Doughty and 22-year-old Sidney Crosby all emerged at various points en route to gold, and its risen to new heights in Sochi. Gone from that triumphant squad on home turf are hardened veterans like Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, replaced by a new wave that includes Pietrangelo, Duchene, Subban, Benn and Tavares. "We knew that when 2010 ended, there was going to be a changing of the guard," said Blues GM and Team Canada management member Doug Armstrong. "For quite of few of those players, their time had come. A lot of them are retired now. And you really cant keep these young players down." That would include Pietrangelo, who has surged to the heights of the defensive position on a powerhouse Blues squad, one that is tied for second-best overall with 84 points at the break. Still in just his fourth full NHL season, he is sitting fourth among all NHL defenders in points this season while averaging more than 25 minutes per game on one of the leagues preeminent defensive teams. A member of two Canadian World Junior teams – including a gold-snatching squad in 2009 – Pietrangelo was brought along carefully by the St. Louis organization, who signed him to a seven-year, $45 million contract this past summer. He played in just 17 games in the two years that followed his draft, rare patience that is quickly being rewarded. "Its hard to argue that right now," said Pietrangelo, gazing around at where he stood on Olympic ground. "Its a tough thing to go through as a young player. You always want to be playing at the highest level, but to see where I am right now, they were investing their time and money in me and they were going to make the best decision for me. Thats how I looked at it. Id like to think that its working right now." Craig Robertson Jersey .com) - Jeff Teague finished with a game-high 26 points and eight assists as the Atlanta Hawks held off the Utah Jazz, 98-92, on Friday. Garrett Grayson Jersey ." Those traits were clear to the 24,071 at Olympic Stadium on Saturday as the Impact dominated the scoring chances but settled for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls in a battle of still-winless Major League Soccer teams. http://www.officialsaintslockroom.com/john-phillips-saints-jersey-63/ .55 million euros (US$18.6 million) to Spanish tax authorities on Monday to cover any potential irregularities in its signing of Neymar, all the while maintaining its innocence of the fraud charges levied against it.GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nathan Horton just kept on smiling. He grinned during warmups, beamed after his first shift and screamed with joy following his first goal. Horton sure is happy to be playing hockey again. And the Columbus Blue Jackets are thrilled their big investment made an immediate impact. Horton scored in his Columbus debut, Curtis McElhinney made 34 saves for his second shutout of the season, and the Blue Jackets beat the sluggish Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 on Thursday night. R.J. Umberger also scored for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a two-game losing streak amid a burst of energy provided by Horton, Columbus $37 million off-season free-agent acquisition. "I had so much fun out there," said Horton, unable to contain his smirk even after the game in dressing room. "Its so exciting to be back." Horton, the ex-Boston Bruins winger who missed the first 40 games following shoulder surgery, poked in a rebound late in the second period for his 199th career goal. Umberger added a second power-play goal midway through the final period and the Blue Jackets shored up their struggling penalty kill in a performance they hope helps them climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. "You can tell were a good team when we play hard," Horton said. "I really enjoyed being out there with the guys." Mike Smith stopped 29 shots for the Coyotes, who lost defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to injury early in the first period and they were shut out for the first time this season. It also ended a streak of six straight overtime games for the Coyotes. "We didnt compete hard enough," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. Horton, who helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and then had 19 points in 22 playoff games for the Bruins last season, signed a seven-year, $37.1 million free-agent deal with the Blue Jackets last summer. In his first game since last seasons Stanley Cup final, Horton was matched with Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov. They had two solid opening shifts before Hortons first shot was kicked away by Smith midway through the first period. Late in the second period after Smith took a penalty for playing the puck outside the trapezoid, James Wisniewski took a shot that Smith poked away. But the 6-foot-2, 229-pound Horton was in front of thhe net and tapped in the rebound at 15:51. Andrus Peat Jersey. "Sometimes I felt good, sometimes I felt bad," Horton said. "Its been a long time since Ive played." How much did the Blue Jackets need Horton? His goal snapped an 0-for-18 power-play drought. His presence even seemed to inspire the defence, which had allowed six power-play goals in the previous two games. Columbus killed all five Phoenix power plays. "We had a big talk about it (Tuesday)," Umberger said of the penalty kill. The Blue Jackets also activated goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), who had been out 12 games, and defenceman Dalton Prout (upper body), who had missed six games. Bobrovsky served as the backup to McElhinney. He made several difficult saves, including on Keith Yandles point-blank shot early in the third period. "I think he was disappointed after last game," Columbus coach Todd Richards said of McElhinney, who allowed five goals in Colorado Tuesday. "You could tell after the game he wasnt happy. Even (Wednesday) he wasnt happy. And its a great response." Ekman-Larsson suffered an upper-body injury early in the first period on a hit into the boards by Derek MacKenzie. No boarding was called on the play and Tippett said they kept him out as a precaution, leaving Phoenix with only five defencemen. A day after being passed over by the U.S. Olympic team, Yandle soon went after MacKenzie. The two served fighting majors in a sloppy first period that saw only six shots apiece. But the Blue Jackets dominated the second period and Phoenix had little energy as it failed to earn a point for only the third time in 12 games. "We didnt manage the puck very well tonight," Smith said. "You lose Ekman-Larsson early in the game like that and you turn pucks over, it puts a lot of stress on five (defencemen). It wears on them." NOTES: Blue Jackets D Jack Skille (abdominal injury) returned to Columbus after being injured Tuesday vs. Colorado. ... The Blue Jackets sent F Jonathan Marchessault, D Tim Erixon and G Mike McKenna to Springfield (AHL). ... The NHL record for consecutive OT games is seven, set by Edmonton (2003) and Toronto (2008). ... Former Columbus first-round pick Rusty Klesla (illness) returned for Phoenix after missing three games. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
puts a lot of stress on five (defencemen). It wears on them
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