Blues left wing, leading scorer to represent Sweden for first time
ST. LOUIS -- When Alexander Steen steps onto the ice today for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, like many of his counterparts who will be participating for the first time, it'll be a dream that comes to fruition.
But for Steen, who leads the Blues with 28 goals and is tied for the team lead in points (46) with T.J. Oshie, there was a hint of confidence that he would don the Swedish jersey in international competition for the first time since representing them at the 2007 World Championships.
"It's a fun time. I don't think I was nervous at all," Steen said. "It's more anticipation for that day to come. It's something you can't control. But I felt good. I'm very happy. I'm very proud and honored to represent my country in the Olympics. I'm looking forward to it.
"I think it's something that I'll look back on later. ... Obviously I was ecstatic to get picked for something like that. That time will come."
|(St. Louis Blues/Mark Buckner)|
For Blues LW Alexander Steen (20), representing Sweden at the
Winter Olympics is "something you grow up dreaming about."
Steen, 29, began visualizing what being an Olympian would be like this past summer. His father Thomas, who played 950 games for the Winnipeg Jets, never represented Sweden as an Olympian. He did play for Sweden twice at the World Championships (1981 and 1986).
"We spoke a lot about it. I had a pretty close relationship and contact with (Sweden) coach (Par Marts)," Alexander Steen said. "We discussed stuff from the summer and on.
"It's something you grow up dreaming about doing. For it to become a reality is very special. It's going to be a great time to share with friends and family. They've supported me throughout my career and getting to this point."
Sweden is one of the favorites to win the gold medal, and Steen and Blues teammate Patrik Berglund hope to play a role in fulfilling the country's third gold medal and first since 2006 in Turin, Italy. They'll do so playing alongside the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Lundqvist and slew of other talented group of NHL players.
"It's a different feel to it," Steen said of international competition. "You hang out with 25 Swedish players, everybody around the team is Swedish. All that stuff is going to be very enjoyable.
"Bergie and I will go over and compete at a high level and we'll do the best we can."
Sweden opens group play at 11 a.m. (St. Louis time), 9 p.m. (local time) against the Czech Republic (USA Network).