Blue Line Blues

Injuries To Martin, Komisarek Lead To Shuffling Of Defensemen For Team USA

Paul Martin officially withdrew earlier this week from participating for Team USA in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games due to injury. Mike Komisarek followed right behind him.

Both players were on the roster when the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team was named on Jan. 1 during the NBC telecast. At the time, Martin was nursing a slow-healing broken left forearm, while Komisarek was sidelined the next day with what has been characterized as an undisclosed upper-body injury, which has been widely reported as an injured shoulder.

Martin’s spot on the squad will be taken by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney, while Tim Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes will replace Komisarek. Both Whitney and Gleason attended the U.S. Olympic Orientation Camp in Woodridge, Ill., in August.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my name from participation with Team USA at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver,” Martin said in a statement issued by the New Jersey Devils.

“While the decision was an extremely difficult one, I feel it is in my long-term best interest to not rush any return to the ice. I look forward to re-joining my New Jersey Devils teammates in the near future, and would also like to wish my fellow Devils’ Olympians and the rest of Team USA good luck in their pursuit of the gold medal.”

The Elk River, Minn., native has been out since being hit by a Bill Guerin shot on Oct. 24.

Komisarek has been sidelined since Jan. 2. He had four assists in 34 games in his first season with the Maple Leafs. He has resumed skating with the team but has not been cleared for physical contact. On Wednesday it was determined that he will have season-ending surgery.

“Our team doctors have recommended this after a determined effort to rehab the injury without surgery,” the West Islip, N.Y., native said in a statement released by the Leafs.

“Having this done immediately is the right thing to do for the Leafs. I am truly sorry that I will not be able to represent my country at the Olympics.”

After receiving strong consideration for one of the seven defensive slots on the roster, Whitney has been added to bring a bit more offensive punch to the U.S. blue line crew.

The Boston native has 3 goals and 20 assists with the Ducks this season.

Gleason, a native of Clawson, Mich., has enjoyed a solid season in Carolina with 5 goals and 10 assists in 47 games.

Whitney will wear No. 19 with Team USA while Gleason will wear No. 4.

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