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'Canes not ready to decide on Faulk release for WJC

by Mike G. Morreale
Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford confirmed on Wednesday that no decision would be made on the availability of defenseman Justin Faulk for the U.S. National Junior Team selection camp until next week.

Faulk was one of eight returning players invited to U.S. selection camp in Camrose, Alta., beginning Dec. 17. He helped the U.S. National Team win a bronze medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Faulk had 1 goal, 4 points and a plus-2 rating at last year's event. This year's tournament will be held in Edmonton and Calgary.

Faulk was chosen in the second round (No. 37) of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Hurricanes. Less than a week after celebrating a national championship as a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth in 2010-11, Faulk was already inking an entry-level deal with Carolina in April. He led Bulldogs defensemen in goals (8), assists (25) and points (33) in 39 games in helping UMD to its first NCAA championship.

Rutherford told via email that "no decision will be made [on whether the Hurricanes release him to USA Hockey] until the final possible date of Dec. 20."

Rutherford went on to say that "this will be a tough decision for us. As much as we would like him to participate in the WJC, he is playing as a top-four defenseman with our club at this time."

Faulk is second on team in ice time (21:45) through 16 games with Carolina this season. He also has 26 hits and 18 blocked shots, in addition to 4 points and a minus-9 rating.

Team USA coach Dean Blais has said his final 22-man roster would likely be named on Dec. 22. The camp will include exhibition games against Russia on Dec. 20 in Red Deer, Switzerland on Dec. 21 in Camrose and Slovakia on Dec. 23 in Three Hills.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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