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By Karl Samuelson Feature Story

November 12, 2001

Adam was's "Lunch-Pailer" for 11/12/01.

Being called a "Lunch Pailer" or a "Grinder" is a badge of honor around the NHL. The designation sets the player into a special group known for its hard work, dedication and desire to excel against the odds.

The Chinese have a word for "problem" ... they call it "opportunity" and that's exactly what the Los Angeles Kings accomplished last February when faced with losing defenseman Rob Blake to free agency. The Kings' marquee player and one of the most dominant defensemen in the NHL, Blake was expected to receive several lucrative offers and eventually sign with another team in the summer.

Never one to sit on his hands either as a player or an executive, Kings General Manager Dave Taylor engineered a win/win scenario by dealing the gifted blueliner to Colorado, where Blake helped the Avalanche capture the Stanley Cup. In return, the Kings received two character players in the prime of their careers, defenseman Aaron Miller and winger Adam Deadmarsh.

"It was a great trade for both teams," says Ken Holland, general manager of Western Conference rival Detroit Red Wings. "I don't know if Colorado would have won the Stanley Cup without Rob Blake on defense. They won their Cup, found a way to sign Rob Blake and have him on their team for a long time. When Dave Taylor made that trade he was four months away from having a player with the ability to leave and get nothing in return. I think he made a great move. He got two players right in their prime who play hard and have had a lot of playoff success. Dave Taylor has done a fantastic job over the last few months in rebuilding that hockey club and making the Kings competitive."

The blockbuster transaction paid immediate dividends. While Miller filled the hole on the Kings' blue line left by the departed Blake, the key to the deal was 26-year-old Deadmarsh.