TORONTO — Did he or didn't he? Will he or won't he?
Canes rookie defenseman Justin Faulk said today he did not have the answer to either of two questions: did he score his first NHL goal Friday against the Winnipeg Jets, and will he play for Team USA in the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship?
Faulk was credited with the goal but said the puck might have been tipped by Pat Dwyer or Jiri Tlusty. But Canes' media relations manager Kyle Hanlin soon ended the suspense: the puck was touched by Jets defenseman Johnny Oduya and the goal officially given to Faulk.
"Obviously it's pretty exciting to get the first one and get it out of the way," Faulk said. "It should give me a little confidence boost there. It's nice."
So much for that. As for the World Junior, Faulk said he has spoken with Ron Francis, the Canes' director of hockey operations about the team allowing him to compete again for Team USA -- Faulk was on the U.S. team last year and has participated in the U.S. National Team Development Program.
"(Francis) asked me if I had any preference on it and I said I didn't really want to be the one making that decision," Faulk said. "I'll leave it up to them.
"I will never, ever be disappointed to play for USA Hockey. I've played for USA Hockey the last three years of my life and played on the U.S. team for two years. If I get a chance to wear the jersey it's obviously a thrill for me.
"At the same time it's amazing to be in this league. You never want to do anything that might cost you a spot on the team or anything. That's why I'm leaving it up to them to make that decision. We'll see what happens."
In 15 games for the Canes, Faulk is averaging 21:48 in ice time, second only to Joni Pitkanen on the team. He has points in his last two games after notching an assist against the Oilers, had 24:17 TOI against the Jets and is manning a point on the Canes' first power-play unit.
General manager Jim Rutherford said the Canes might wait until the World Junior deadline, just before Christmas, to make a final decision on allowing Faulk to play in the event in Calgary and Edmonton.
Faulk scored the winning goal for the U.S. against Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2010 IIHF World U-18 Championship in Belarus. He was second among U.S. defensemen in scoring with four points in the 2011 World Junior in Buffalo as the U.S. took the bronze.
And about that first NHL goal. Faulk said he wasn't sure if anyone kept the puck but equipment manager Bob Gorman said the puck was in the Canes' possession, so Faulk will get to keep it.