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Stars' Roussel moved by playing of French anthem

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com

DALLAS -- As one of two NHL players born in France, Antoine Roussel wanted to show support for his home nation after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

So, he placed stickers of the French flag on the back of his helmet and on his stick for the Dallas Stars' 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center on Saturday. Roussel was joined in the gesture by several of his teammates, including defenseman Jason Demers, who grew up near Montreal and speaks fluent French.

"The boys played really hard," Roussel said. "They were committed to that, and I really appreciate that from them. It was huge."

Roussel, who had two blocked shots in 14:14 of ice time, said he contacted his parents, who live in Paris, on Friday and that they were fine.

But it was still tough to play Saturday in downtown Dallas.

"That was just [tough] for everybody, not just for me," Roussel said. "It's not just about me, it's about people there. It just [stinks] about that kind of stuff. You never want that to happen to anybody, even your worst enemy. It's terrible and it's painful."

Before "The Star-Spangled Banner," the Stars played "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem, which a majority of the crowd stood for and strongly applauded.

Since Roussel had already retired to the locker room following warmups, he didn't hear the French anthem. But he wasn't surprised the Stars played it.

"It's awesome. I was really proud," Roussel said. "That's the kind of thing [the Stars] do. They're really proud of their players. They're a class organization."

The Stars had a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Paris attacks prior to the playing of the national anthem.

Philadelphia Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, also a native of France, wore a French flag on his helmet against the Caroline Hurricanes on Saturday.

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