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Blues' American line bringing out their best

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- They never got the opportunity to play together as a trio at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but when center Paul Stastny signed as an unrestricted free agent this past summer with the St. Louis Blues, the opportunity presented itself for an all-American line with United States teammates David Backes and T.J. Oshie.

Uniting the three wasn't immediately in the cards for coach Ken Hitchcock, who wanted to take a look at them in different fashions and with different linemates. Injuries also derailed any potential connection. Stastny sustained a shoulder injury the fourth game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes and missed eight games; Backes and Oshie each sustained concussions Oct. 28 against the Dallas Stars, with Backes missing one game and Oshie seven.

But in recent games, Hitchcock implemented the unit in order to get a boost for all three. The move seemed to spark each player's respective game.

The Blues (16-6-2) will need their American line and everyone else when they go up against the Chicago Blackhawks (15-8-1) in the Wednesday Night Rivalry Game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

"I wanted to look at it at practice first," Hitchcock said. "I put a Swedish line out there; I had four guys from Sweden in one line. That's an American line, I got a Euro line because [Jaden Schwartz] plays like a Euro. I'm not sure … then I got a hound dog line [the fourth line]. I'm not sure what I got going, but I wanted to look at it. It was a good day."

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Love of game led Daly to Lester Patrick Award

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / Lester Patrick Trophy

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Bill Daly has done a lot, seen a lot, heard a lot and changed a lot since arriving at the NHL on Dec. 13, 1996, as chief legal officer. He has carved out a career which has made him one of the leaders in the sports world as the NHL's Deputy Commissioner for the past nine years.

But take away the impressive resume and job responsibilities and, at his core, Daly is still a 50-year-old fan who relishes the opportunity to meet the players he admired as a boy attending games at Madison Square Garden with his dad.

"Getting to talk to Stephane Matteau and Jeff Beukeboom recently, that was really cool for me," Daly told NHL.com. "Rod Gilbert, the fact that he recognizes who I am and wants to talk to me, I think that's really cool. Vic Hadfield, we talked one night at a Ranger game and he went out of his way, on his own initiative, to sign a picture and have the Rangers frame it. He gave it to me the next time he saw me. I mean, how cool is that?"

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Survival instincts helped Rafalski to U.S. Hall of Fame

Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 3:00 AM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Former University of Wisconsin men's hockey coach Jeff Sauer vividly recalls the day he reached out to New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello with a little insight on a player he felt destined to make it big.

That player was 5-foot-10 Brian Rafalski, who at the time was considered by scouts an undersized defenseman incapable of handling the rigors of an NHL season.

"Lou told me he was too small and wouldn't be able to stand the physical game," Sauer said. "But four years later he was playing in the NHL and playing for Lou."

Lamoriello confirmed how Rafalski was back on his radar four years after Sauer's recommendation.

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For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday