Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney was added to the U.S. Olympic team Thursday, giving the Ducks nine players on various Olympic teams — more than any other NHL organization.
One of the Ducks’ representatives, Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa, 20, is playing with a junior team this season, leaving the Ducks with eight NHL Olympians, a number matched by San Jose.
Whitney and Tim Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes were added to replace injured defensemen Paul Martin of the New Jersey Devils and Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Whitney, a native of Massachusetts who turns 27 this month, has four goals and 24 points this season with a minus-seven defensive rating.
“It’ll be amazing,” said Whitney, who previously represented the U.S. as a junior player. “I’ve played for my country before, and it’s quite a feeling.
“I’m so excited. I think it’s going to be quite an experience.”
Brian Burke, general manager of the U.S. team, called Whitney “a good-sized player with puck-moving ability” and noted Gleason’s “physical presence.”
Johnson to march
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson is chartering a plane so he can march in the Olympics opening ceremony next Friday — and might be the only U.S. men’s player to participate because of the NHL schedule.
The Kings have games the night before and the night after the ceremony, and Johnson received permission from General Manager Dean Lombardi to skip practice to go to Vancouver. He plans to return that night.
USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Johnson and Burke are the only representatives of the men’s hockey team expected to participate. The Kings’ Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown, also members of the U.S. team, passed on the chance, as did the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan, a U.S. teammate Johnson invited to join him on the charter. Ryan declined because the Ducks are flying to Calgary that day for a game the next day.
With their 6-4 victory over the Ducks on Thursday, the Kings improved to 22-0-0 when leading after two periods. . . . The series shifts to Anaheim on Monday, where the Ducks have won their last nine games. . . . The Ducks are still waiting for immigration issues to be resolved for goaltender Vesa Toskala, the player acquired with Jason Blake in the trade that sent Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Toronto, but are hopeful Toskala will join the team within the next few days.