When the United States takes on Canada later on today in the 2014 Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey semifinal, they’ll have to do so without defenseman Paul Martin. Early in the morning it was said that the Pittsburgh Penguin had fallen ill, and wouldn’t be able to compete because of that.
USA D Paul Martin is ill, NBCSN reports, Faulk in vs. Canada later
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) February 21, 2014
It was later reported that Martin had been seen wearing a cast or wrap on his hand, and that this was the actual reason he wouldn’t be able to suit up for the United States.
initial reports said illness. RT:@JSB_FOX For those asking, cast on Paul Martin’s hand.
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) February 21, 2014
Regardless of why, this is a huge loss for the Americans heading into their biggest game of the tournament.
In for Martin will be Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes, who will be making his Olympic debut after watching the Winter Olympics from the stands up to this point.
While Faulk is a solid young defenseman, Martin brings a ton of experience to the table for the US. He’s a vital part of the locker room and his poise with the puck allows some of America’s younger players to remain calm as well. With Martin out, US head coach Dan Bylsma rolled out these combinations:
U.S. D for tonite’s semi vs. CAN: Fowler-Shattenkirk; Orpik-Carlson; Suter-McDonagh; Faulk. Quick in goal; Miller backup. #DawnsEarlyLight
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 21, 2014
For more Olympics coverage, check out FanSided.com.