U.S. National Junior Team goalie Jack Campbell preferred to look on the brighter side when asked if it was disappointing to learn that defenseman Justin Faulk would not be a part of the team at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Faulk, who had a key role along the blueline in Team USA's bronze medal-winning effort in Buffalo, N.Y., last year, will not be released by Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to play in this year's tournament. According to Rutherford, Faulk has been too important a player to the Hurricanes.
"Hey, look at it this way, for once we're like Team Canada where a player eligible for the tournament is remaining in the NHL," Campbell told NHL.com. "Seriously, though, it's more of a credit to Justin and how much work he's put in. To be a top four defenseman on that team … that's pretty special for a 19-year-old.
"I've known Faulker for probably three or four years now, and nobody earned it more than he did. So it's not necessarily that anyone's down or anything, but it's just the way it goes. He's a big part of their team."
With Faulk's availability now out of the way, a spot will open for another defender looking to make their mark in selection camp. U.S. coach Dean Blais will announce his 22-man roster on Thursday morning. Campbell said the competition and play has been intense this week.
"The goalies were out there for over two hours [on Monday] and the team was out there for two hours so I feel things are coming together nicely," Campbell said. "Any time you're playing for coach Blais, the intensity is up there for sure and the fact it's still a tryout camp means guys are going as hard as they can so it's been fun to watch."
Campbell, who will be playing in his third World Junior Championship this year, knows this year's defense is going to be solid. Blais has said he would like to keep two goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. There are currently nine defenders in selection camp.
"Whenever we've won championships that I've been a part of, it always started with defense," Campbell said. "This year's 'D' has tremendous size, skating ability and, most of all, some offensive flair. I love the 'D' here … they're all top notch."
Campbell likes the versatility along the blueline.
"We have quite a few guys who could be the top pair and that's the great part about this group; we don't have just one shutdown guy or one offensive guy," he said. "I think everyone can pretty much do it all."
He also singled out one player in particular.
"The hockey world is going to see Seth Jones play on a big stage as well," Campbell said. "He's a 17-year-old and not even draft eligible until . He's going to put smiles on a lot of Americans' faces for sure."
Jones is the son of retired NBA player "Popeye" Jones. Seth, who is currently starring for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League, was drafted by the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips in the first round (No. 11) of the 2009 bantam draft.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale