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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bret Hedican (St. Paul, Minn.) of the Carolina Hurricanes will replace the injured Aaron Miller (Buffalo, N.Y.) of the Los Angeles Kings on the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team it was announced today by Don Waddell, general manager of Team USA.

"We feel bad for Aaron that he's unable to be part of the team," said Waddell. "At the same time we're extremely fortunate to be able to replace Aaron with someone the caliber of Bret Hedican."

Hedican has logged 18 points (5-13) in 51 games with Carolina this season while averaging more than 20 minutes played per game. He last put on a USA jersey at the 2001 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship, where he scored two goals and had two assists in nine games for the U.S. Men's National Team.

Waddell also announced that Matt Cullen (Virginia, Minn.) of the Carolina Hurricanes, Paul Martin (Elk River, Minn.) of the New Jersey Devils and Ryan Miller (East Lansing, Mich.) of the Buffalo Sabres will make up Team USA's "taxi squad" for the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

The players will be available as potential replacements for Team USA members injured during the course of the Olympic Games.

Cullen has scored 20 goals and added 14 assists while posting a +7 rating for the Hurricanes. He was named to last year's 2005 U.S. Men's National Team, but was injured prior to the 2005 IIHF World Championship.

Martin is second among New Jersey defensemen behind only fellow Team USA member Brian Rafalksi (Dearborn, Mich.) in points (2-21–23) and average time on ice (23: 34). He skated in all seven games for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2005 IIHF World Championship this past April.

Despite suffering an injury that kept him sidelined for over a month, Ryan Miller has compiled 18 wins in 25 games for Buffalo. He owns a 2.18 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. He last represented the United States at the 2003 IIHF World Championship where he posted a 2-1-0 record and 2.49 GAA in four games.

Waddell said that Martin and Cullen will practice with the team in Italy, while Ryan Miller will be on call from the United States.

"It's not practical to have four goaltenders dressed for practice, so we felt it best to have Ryan remain at home and be available to come over should one of our goaltenders get hurt," said Waddell.

Team USA will begin its quest for a gold medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 15 when it faces Latvia at 3 p.m. EST.

NOTES: The use of three additional players as injury replacements was proposed by the IIHF due to the heavy demand on the players, where the risk is above average with five games to be played in seven days and in order to avoid the situation where the final games are played with reduced rosters. The International Olympic Council confirmed the proposal. The injury of any player/goalkeeper to be substituted for must be certified by the IIHF Chief Medical Officer and the Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission ... If Martin is called upon to play during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, he will be the youngest skater (24) on Team USA and the second youngest player on the team. Rick DiPietro (Winthrop, Mass.) is also 24 and was born six months after Martin.
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