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Byfuglien still hoping for Olympic spot
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/9/2009 10:41 PM

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Blackhawks winger Dustin Byfuglien remains hopeful he'll have a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Team USA general manager Brian Burke said the squad will be selected next week, but the 23-man roster won't be announced officially until Jan. 1 during NBC's telecast of the Winter Classic between the Bruins and Flyers at Fenway Park.

Most projected U.S. rosters don't include Byfuglien, but the Americans are on the small side and might need someone who is 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds.

"There's not too much size and I think they might use it and might need it," Byfuglien said. "Hopefully they do."

Byfuglien has had an up and down first half of the season. He was a minus-5 with 8 goals and 2 assists in 28 games before facing the Rangers on Wednesday.

"I've had a good year so far, I feel," Byfuglien said. "All I can do is sit here and work hard and hopefully it all turns out for the best."

The Hawks have nine players under consideration for spots on various Olympic teams. That's fine with coach Joel Quenneville, who thinks the experience gained would outweigh the chance to rest for two weeks.

"I think all our guys would love that opportunity and I'd be happy for them if they got the chance to play," Quenneville said. "It would be a great experience for them and I think they could all bring something positive back from that and I think it could help us down the road.

"There are two ways of looking at it, but I'll be happy for the guys that get to go."

Back at it: Fourth-line winger Tomas Kopecky was in the lineup Wednesday after being a healthy scratch at Pittsburgh Saturday.

"I think we may be looking for a little bit more," Joel Quenneville said. "Whether it's harder in the puck area, harder to play against, that type of thing.

"At the same time we're not complaining. I just think we're looking for more energy out of that line and more predictability."

Hello Buffalo: So who's going to get more fan and media attention on Friday when the Hawks play in Buffalo, hometown boy Patrick Kane or former Sabre Brian Campbell?

It will be Campbell's first game in Buffalo since the Sabres traded him to San Jose in 2008. It will be Kane's first return since his arrest last summer for the altercation with a cab driver.

Tip-ins: Duncan Keith didn't take part in Wednesday's morning skate for rest purposes. ... The Rangers came into the game with only four "plus" players.