Brett Hull was not drafted by the St. Louis Blues, it was Calgary. He did not win his first Stanley Cup in St. Louis, it was Dallas. He did not win his second Stanley Cup in St. Louis, it was Detroit. He didn't retire in St. Louis, it was Phoenix.
Regardless, Brett Hull belongs to St. Louis. And after tonight he belongs to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He deserves it. Totally happy for him. But it brings up mixed emotions about his time in St. Louis.
During his heyday, Hull filled the highlight reels with his famous snapshot. Back in the day, he was a floater. He liked to hang out near the neutral zone just waiting for an outlet pass. But he was a Zen master in finding where the calm spot on the ice would be in the slot before it happened. Hull was a loudmouth and by all accounts not the best teammate in the dressing room. But did become a more all-around player and was a key contributor for two Cup-winning teams.
Brett Hull played his own kind of game, never took no for an answer and owned the city of St. Louis for nearly a decade.
Everything about the Golden Brett is melancholy. He was an electric player who brought the Blues to the civic and league forefront. His popularity helped build a modern building for the team. He won a Hart Trophy as league MVP. He joined an elite club of players by scoring 50 goals in 50 games...TWICE.
He also never made it out of the second round of the playoffs. He had his captaincy stripped away. He couldn't click with Wayne Gretzky during his short tenure with the Blues. He alienated management. He liked to have too much of a good time off the ice. When his contract expired, the team let him walk as a free agent instead of trading or attempting to re-sign him.
With Hull, all the good memories are a little tarnished with how it ended. That's kind of the story of this franchise. Make the Stanley Cup Finals for the first few years, get swept each time and then never make it back. The number of players to pass through St. Louis to only play big roles on Cup-winning teams is too depressingly long to recite.
Anyone 20 or younger probably doesn't remember Hull in the Blue Note. They can only watch the clips and read the stories and shake their head at how such a tremendous offensive player could be allowed to leave St. Louis.
In the end, the Cup in Dallas will be associated with Mike Modano. The Cup in Detroit, another in the legacy of Yzerman and Lidstrom. By default, Hull belongs to us. And that's fine by me.