Justin Faulk has not played a single second of the Olympic tournament for the U.S. The 21-year old defenseman has watched as the Americans have won their way into Friday's semifinal match-up with Canada.
After four games, Faulk will finally get his chance to make a different for the Americans.
At Friday morning's practice, the Team USA defense pairings were Ryan Suter-Ryan McDonagh, Cam Fowler-Kevin Shattenkirk and Brooks Orpik-John Carlson, with Faulk listed as the seventh man. USA Hockey confirmed that Paul Martin will be one of the three scratches, along with Jimmy Howard and Derek Stepan.
There's a bit of mystery as to why Martin is out. According to Julie Stewart-Binks of FOX Sports, Martin was seen wearing a cast on his hand after the morning skate.
(UPDATE: According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Martin will miss the rest of the Olympics with a hand injury. Full recovery time is unknown at this point.)
Either way, Martin absence is a big loss on a U.S. defense that has been strong so far. Martin has averaged 17:54 of ice time through four games, playing the third most minutes on the blue line behind Suter and McDonagh.
U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma has had his eye on Faulk for while, so he certainly has the utmost confidence in the young defenseman's ability to jump right in for the huge game against Canada.
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