Today, Team USA GM Brian Burke announced that defenseman Paul Martin has officially bowed out of the Olympics due to an arm injury. According to the Toronto Star, Mike Komisarek (shoulder) will not play either.
All is not lost, however. There are some suitable, although not as preferable, replacements that have the ability to perform well should they get the call to represent their country.
Here are the candidates:
Born July 15, 1990—Massena, NY
Height: 6'2", Weight: 197 lbs, Shoots R
Bogosian has had a great year for Atlanta and has a boomer of a shot. He was selected behind Drew Doughty—third overall—in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Although he is no Drew Doughty, he has not been a disappointment by any means.
Born Sept. 25, 1984—Anchorage, AK
Height: 6'0", Weight: 205 lbs, Shoots L
Carle has really had an up and down career, but possesses nice skating and puck moving skills. He is definitely among the best in those categories for American born defensemen.
Born Jan. 10, 1983—Bloomington, MN
Height: 6'3", Weight: 206 lbs, Shoots R
Although he has good size and shut down ability, his offensive numbers this year are just as bad as the Oilers' record. Still, he would not be a bad replacement for Komisarek.
Born Jan. 29, 1983—Clawson, MI
Height: 6'1", Weight: 214 lbs, Shoots L
From what I have read in the last 48 hours, Gleason appears to be the favorite among pundits who are speculating about replacements. I wouldn't mind the selection, as he definitely adds some sandpaper to the lineup.
Born July 30, 1985—Grand Rapids, MN
Height: 6'0", Weight: 178 lbs, Shoots L
Goligoski has had an up and down year, but only because he was on fire early in the season. He is still having a nice sophomore campaign for the Penguins and is a great skater and power play blue-liner.
Born May 13, 1983—Grand Ledge, MI
Height 6'3", Weight: 237 lbs, Shoots R
Greene is a hard-nosed defender who would be a great replacement for Komisarek. I've had the pleasure of watching him up close for the Kings the last two seasons, and I thought I knew how tough he was until this happened. He blocked a shot with his face to end the game. He didn't skate off the ice afterward—he made sure to congratulate his goaltender. (Photo evidence here.)
Born March 24, 1981—Bolton, CT
Height: 6'3", Weight: 211 lbs, Shoots L
Another American defenseman with an up and down career, he perhaps has struggled right along with the teams for which he has played. Still, Hainsey is a reliable defender and a capable power play, blue line presence.
Born Dec. 30, 1978—Syosset, NY
Height: 6'0", Weight: 214 lbs, Shoots L
Scuderi is a prototypical stay-at-home defender and among the best in the NHL. He contributed significant minutes for Pittsburgh in their run to Stanley Cup glory last season and has been terrific paired with Drew Doughty in Los Angeles this season.
He reportedly took it pretty hard when he did not make the initial cut, so I really hope that he is one of the two alternates.
Born Feb. 19, 1983—Boston, MA
Height: 6'4", Weight: 219 lbs, Shoots L
Currently playing for Anaheim, Whitney was one of my initial picks when I made my list early last year because of his size, speed, and shot.
I am hoping for Scuderi and Whitney, as they bring a nice mix of defensive reliability, size, and offensive ability.
Whom do you think Burke and the rest of the Team USA selection committee will choose?