I remember the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s sports cover when Brett Hull left the Blues. A comic photo of him wearing a Stars uniform. Hull left the Blues because he couldn’t find a way to fit into Joel Quennville’s system. It was written up as a mutual parting, but as Brett Hull said today in his press conference at Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis where he was announced as the club’s new Executive Vice President, he didn’t want to leave. Hull’s last season with the Note ended in 1998 where he scored 27 goals and collected 45 assists as he transitioned from goal scorer to a versatile threat. We all know the rest. Hull went on to win two Stanley Cups(Dallas, Detroit) but his legacy stayed with the Blues. He changed hockey in this town when he arrived in the late 1980′s and scored 41 goals in 1988-89. He lit the fire that rebooted the shaky tendencies of the foundation off Oakland Avenue at the old barn. Wile bitterness marked his exit, his return was showered in acclaim and warm authentic feeling.
Hull took the stage Monday night to take his new front office role and quickly reminded us of the greatness that represented his candidness with the club for so many years. If you think Lance Berkman is blunt with reporters, he is playing with Hull’s playbook. Assessing his new duties with saucy humor, Hull pointed out the reasons he was brought in. ”I need to sell the remaining 16 luxury suites.” His impact here will hit harder than that. Hull won’t be directly involved with player personnel but his voice will be heard. His intellect and knowledge got him this job as well as the face to reformat over the franchise press junkets.
I grew up watching Hull put goals in the back of the net. I wish upon more than a few stars that he could get into hockey shape and get out there and show these younger talents how to truly become a sniper. A well known lethal weapon that lights the lamp more than not. Hull didn’t miss the net that often. He was truly great. Since he isn’t playing anymore, this role suits him and this team. Tom Stillman is the rare owner who understands what a team needs and how to reengage a fan base. He is sincere and not just another suit with empty promises. Stillman, together with general manager Doug Armstrong and head coach Ken Hitchcock, are driven to score this town a cup.
While he is unable to score goals or suit up these days, Brett Hull is a giant step in the Cup Crazy direction. The Blues front office, long known for being maddeningly inconsistent, is really taking shape and turning into a no-nonsense crew. The Blues season is almost a month away.