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Hull's peers his biggest fans

Monday, 11.09.2009 / 6:15 PM / News
By Bob Matuszak
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Hull\'s peers his biggest fans

TORONTO -- After an illustrious career with the Los Angeles Kings, Luc Robitaille made a quick stop in Detroit before retiring. That's where he saw the true Brett Hull.

Hull and Robitaille
Robitaille remembered Hull as a care-free spirit with a happy-go-lucky attitude when he played against him in the 1990's. When the two hooked up in the Motor City in 2001-02, Robitaille noticed something different. Rather than seeing the easy-going right wing that had so much talent it seemed he just went through the motions, Robitaille was amazed at just how committed Hull really was.

"He was always looked at as a shooter, and there was so much more to his game," Robitaille said on Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame. "But he was just a great all-around player. He knew how to play the game, and it was fun for me to get to play with him and watch him up close."

Hull personified the type of player that seemed to have more talent in his little finger than others had in their entire body, all the while giving the impression that he could just throw his stick on the ice, score two goals blindfolded, than innocently wink at the crowd as if he exerted little to no effort.

That, says Robitaille, is the furthest thing from the truth.

"Even though he like to walk around, have fun, and make it look like he wasn't serious about the game, he was very serious about the game." Robitaille said. "If he had a bad game or two, you'd see him at practice working hard in order to try and get right back into his game. That's what made him so successful. He didn't accept having a bad game or two. He was the one guy that was constantly trying to get better, even though he claimed he didn't care. You saw him come in early and work on his sticks and skates. When you see a guy doing that, that's not a guy who doesn't care."

Hull also impressed Robitaille with his soft hands, and the way he was able to corral a puck as if it were on a string. The byproduct of Hull's deadly-accurate shot was his ability to feather passes wherever he wanted. He could split a defenseman's legs with a strike, deftly lift the puck over a defenders stick and onto his teammates' tape, or scorch a cross-ice zinger when the pass needed velocity.

"He was a playmaker," Robitaille said. "He also could create space, and he did it without defensemen noticing."

When he joined the Stars in 1998, Hull quickly learned how to play at both ends of the rink, quieting critics that thought his only asset was what he did with the puck and not what he didn't do without it.

"Defensively, he was just a really smart player," Robitaille said.

Hull made the same impression on fellow inductee Brian Leetch, who played with Hull on the 1996 World Cup-winning United States team.

"He certainly understood what it took for him to be successful, and where he was going to find success," Leetch said. "The one thing I learned playing with him on that U.S. team is that he's an extremely smart player, and a great playmaker. He actually used to overpass it in practice just so guys knew that he could pass the puck. He'd be feathering it all over the place, over and under sticks, and you'd say, 'Wow, this guy can really pass that puck.'"

With today's tight-checking game, it seems hard to fully grasp what Hull accomplished offensively. Recording three consecutive 70 goal seasons, scoring 50 times in 50 games twice, and potting 86 tallies in one season are mind-blowing numbers. But as good as Hull was during his prolific 19-year career, Hall of Fame inductee Lou Lamoriello feels that another generation will have the opportunity to witness the second-coming of Brett Hull sometime in the future.

"We'll see another," Lamoriello said. "Every time we think a record can't be broke, it's broken, and every time we think that someone won't come around, they do. We see it in every sport, so it's just a matter of time."

But until that time comes, we'll relish the blast we had while marveling at the original Brett Hull.



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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 66 42 17 7 196 179 91
2 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 65 32 21 12 180 175 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 COL 64 28 25 11 170 183 67
12 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 64 23 38 -4 61
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 64 15 37 -5 52
J. Klingberg 50 10 24 2 34
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
C. Eakin 61 15 15 0 30
A. Hemsky 58 9 17 -9 26
A. Goligoski 64 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 62 12 12 -10 24
S. Horcoff 60 8 13 3 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 26 13 10 .906 2.95
J. Enroth 13 25 2 .900 3.30
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