Canes defenseman Justin Faulk named to US Olympic team

calexander@newsobserver.comJanuary 1, 2014 


NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 05: Justin Faulk #27 of the Carolina Hurricanes opens the scoring at 23 seconds of the first period against the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on December 5, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.

BRUCE BENNETT — Getty Images

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk has been named to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Faulk, 21, will be making his first Olympic appearance. Faulk and Andrej Sekera -- who again should be on Slovakia's Olympic team -- have been the Canes' top defensive pairing this season.

“It’s very well-deserved,” Canes general manager Jim Rutherford said. “He’s a very good player and will only get better and better. We’re proud of him. For where he is at this point in his career, this is quite an accomplishment.”

Faulk has three goals and 13 assists in 40 games this season, averaging about 24 minutes of ice time per games.

Team USA general manager David Poile has said some younger players could be chosen for this Olympics with an eye both on the Sochi Games and the future. Faulk offers youth and NHL experience, and has been a part of several international competitions for Team USA.

Faulk, who participated in the U.S. National Team Development Program, played in the 2011 World Junior Championship. He played for the U.S. in the IIHF World Championships in 2012 and 2013 and was effective on the larger ice surfaces in Europe.

At the 2012 Worlds in Finland, Faulk led the U.S. defensemen with four goals and finished with a team-best plus-9 rating. This year, he topped the U.S. defensemen with six assists as Team USA earned a bronze medal in Sweden.

“I think he's definitely deserving of it,” said Canes defenseman Mike Komisarek, who was named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic team but unable to participate because of an injury. “He's shown he can be one of the elite defensemen in the league.

“He's mature beyond his years. He definitely plays like it, and acts like it off the ice. He's just a tremendous all-around player. He's strong in all facets. Rock solid.”

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