The Pittsburgh Penguins' loss of Paul Martin for the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured tibia will have a severe impact on the Penguins' blue line -- and perhaps the United States Olympic team.
Martin, injured during the Penguins' game against the Boston Bruins on Monday, has two goals and nine assists with a team-high 25:16 minutes per game. The lockdown defenseman formed the Penguins' top pairing with Brooks Orpik and had a role on the top power-play unit. In fact, both are under consideration to compete for the U.S. in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. NHL.com's U.S. roster projection has Martin paired with John Carlson of the Washington Capitals.
Martin will be out until Christmas and perhaps after New Year's Day, and that puts his potential spot in jeopardy. The U.S. team will be announced Jan. 1 as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. When it comes to the Olympics, Martin has had some tough luck. He's twice been named to Olympic teams, but didn't see any action in the 2006 Turin Games and missed the 2012 Vancouver Games due to a broken arm.