Whether it has been coaching in the Central Division behind the benches of Columbus and St. Louis or with Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Ken Hitchcock has seen the best of Ryan Suter in Nashville and in a United States sweater.

Suter admittedly has had a rocky start to his Wild career. The Blues coach says fans and media should be patient.

"You get off on the wrong foot, you get off on the wrong foot. That's happened a million times to people," Hitchcock said this week. "In the Olympics, he was arguably the first- or second-best defenseman in the whole tournament. He is an incredible hockey player."

Hitchcock puts Suter's play in the tournament (the United States won silver) right up there with Canada's Shea Weber (Suter's old defense partner in Nashville) and Drew Doughty and Sweden's Niklas Kronwall.

"We all knew how good he was. We didn't know how competitive he was," Hitchcock said. "I've coached against him a lot, and I know how good he is. The best way to describe it is he's a coach's player because all the little things he does really grow on you, like getting you out of trouble, escaping your zone, keeping pucks in.

"He does a lot of the little things that to the naked eye go unnoticed, but if you watch it really closely, the body of work is really, really impressive."