ST. LOUIS – Brett Hull won Stanley Cups with the Stars and Red Wings. No doubt that helps lessen the disappointment that his biggest seasons with the St. Louis Blues lacked similar happy endings.
The Blues are honouring Hull for his recent induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, along with his “dream team” from a decade with the franchise that features Adam Oates, Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger.
Hull became a star after St. Louis acquired him from the Calgary Flames in 1987. He scored 72, 86 and 70 goals in a three-season span starting in 1989-90 and was just as entertaining and colourful after games.
“We had the Babe Ruth of hockey,” Shanahan said. “Every time Babe hit, he hit a home run. Every time Brett shot it, he scored a goal.”
Those memories trump Hull’s sour ending in St. Louis in 1998. He’ll be honoured in a pre-game ceremony before Tuesday’s game against the Flames, and the Blues also plan to add a Hull statue outside the Scottrade Center to join likenesses of MacInnis and Bernie Federko.
The team retired Hull’s No. 16 jersey in 2006. He holds franchise records for goals (527), hat tricks (27), game-winning goals (70), power-play goals (195) and shots on goal (3,367), and ranks second in assists (409), points (936) and short-handed goals (18).
“I know what Brett means to St. Louis, and I know that St. Louis is in Brett’s heart,” team president John Davidson said. “St. Louis Blues hockey, one of the reasons it is where it is, is because of Brett Hull.
“That’s simply said, but that’s the simple truth.”
Hull’s “dream team” features grinders as well as stars, with forwards Bob Bassen, Kelly Chase, Sergio Momesso and Tony Twist also making the cut along with Rod Brind’Amour, Guy Carbonneau, Geoff Courtnall, Nelson Emerson, Federko and Doug Gilmour. Other defencemen are Jeff Brown, Garth Butcher, Steve Duchesne, Phil Housley and Scott Stevens, and the goalies are Grant Fuhr and Curtis Joseph.
“Most of us were young kids, and we were riding the ride,” said Brown, known for his booming slap shot from the point. “It was a great time to be a St. Louis Blue, that’s for sure.”
Two coaches, Brian Sutter and Bob Berry, also are on Hull’s team.
“He really put St. Louis on the map for hockey,” said Keith Tkachuk, a veteran Blues forward. “The building’s going to be electric and we’re going to have to take advantage of that.”