Smolinski gets U.S. started early

Updated: September 4, 2004, 12:40 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Upset by the lackluster play of some veterans, Team USA coach Ron Wilson benched Brett Hull and three other regulars.

Wilson described the move as "the most difficult decision I've made as a coach."

But, it worked.

With younger, fresher legs, the U.S. team finally showed some energy in the World Cup of Hockey, beating Slovakia 3-1 Friday for its first win in the tournament.

"Now, we have an opportunity to still play here on Tuesday, which ...

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