Dustin Byfuglien not included on USA Olympic hockey team

When the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team is announced on Friday afternoon, EspnChicago.com has learned Chicago Blackhawks winger Dustin Byfuglien will not be on the roster.

Byfuglien was one of 34 players invited to the orientation camp late last summer, but he will not be one of the 23 players on the team to represent the U.S. at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

As recently as last week, Team USA general manager Brian Burke said Byfuglien was “still in the mix” to make the team and indicated that his size could be useful in these Olympics, which will be played on a NHL-sized rink for the first time.

Byfuglien has 11 goals and six assists in 40 games this season. The former eighth-round pick received national recognition in last season’s playoffs when he tallied three goals and six assists in 17 games. He was credited with screening Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Louongo throughout the six game series that the Hawks won 4-2.

Byfuglien had said making the team would be a “dream come true” and was looking forward to possibly playing with his idol, Mike Modano.

Another Hawks winger, Patrick Kane, is expected to make the team when it is announced after the Winter Classic in Boston.