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U.S. team adds defense

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It looks like the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team isn't going to have to rely solely on its offense after all.

USA Hockey announced the addition of two defensemen — Detroit Red Wings' Chris Chelios and San Jose Sharks' Gary Suter — to represent the country in the 2002 Olympic Games next February.

Team USA now has 14 players on its roster, with the remaining nine players to be selected on or before Dec. 22. The U.S. squad includes 10 forwards and four defensemen so far, with three goalies and a handful of blue-liners still to be chosen.

"We are excited to name these two defensemen to the U.S. Olympic roster as players who have been among the very best at their position over the course of their NHL careers," said U.S. men's hockey team general manager Craig Patrick, who also serves as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Chris Chelios is a future Hall of Famer who brings invaluable leadership on and off the ice to a team of this high caliber.

"The addition of Gary Suter further solidifies our team defense by providing key veteran experience in international and Olympic competition."

This will be the third time Chelios — a 10-time NHL All-Star, mostly with the Chicago Blackhawks — will be in the Olympics. He was the team captain and tied for second with two points in four contests for the Americans in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Prior to his pro career, Chelios scored four points for the U.S. in the 1984 tournament in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

Suter's appearance in Salt Lake City will mark his second stint as a member of a U.S. Olympic team. He played in all four games when the NHL players made their debut at Nagano. He — along with Chelios — also helped the United States capture the World Cup of Hockey Championship in 1996.

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