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The "Selfish Hull" article

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Old
05-15-2004, 03:19 PM
  #1
Tiger Williams
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The "Selfish Hull" article

From the Windsor Star on May 13th, written by Bob Duff:

Sometime next week, Detroit Red Wings general manager, Ken Holland and Senior-Vice-President Jim Devellano will meet with owner Mike Illitch to make reccomondations on the direction of the club. At the top of the list, they will suggest two major moves be made. First, that Dave lewis be retained as coach of the club. Second that right-winger Brett Hull be removed from the roster.

No Surprise

Craig Button, assistant GM of the Dallas Stars during Hulls tenure there, wasn't surprised to hear that Hull's play wasn't the only thing that disintegrated during the past NHL season.

"I've caught that act before," Button said.

The sulking Hull. The selfish Hull. The me-first Hull, who refuses to listen to anyone but himself.

Hull often touts himself as the smartest man in hockey. Notice how no one ever steps forward to second that notion?

Instead, players and team officials quietly noted this season that they'd never dealt with a more selfish person before in their lives. Hull, who turns 40 in August, took a dramatic, nose dive in production this season, finishing with 25 goals, down a dozen from last seasons total. He endured a career-long 20 game goaless streak, but as far as the Wings were concerned, that was the least of Hulls problems.

Out Of Shape

He was out of shape.

As one NHL analyst suggested, "It's hard to be a factor when you're 55 pounds overweight".

That's stretching a point, but Hull's commitment to fitness didn't measure up to his teamates.

Nor did his commitment to the team concept.

As his ice time dwindled with his production, Hull sulked. If it wasn't for the strength of character in the room from players such as captain Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper & Kirk Maltby, Hulls disriptive presense might have infected team chemistry.

Hull scored once during Detroit's second round series loss to the Calgary Flames, that tally coming during a five on three advntage situation in game 2. During the second half of the season and especially the playoffs, Hull completely went off the map. he wasn't even moving on the ice, just floating and lurking, hoping for a one-timer.

He avoided physical contact, opting for stick checks, stepping aside instead of attempting to block shots. As Hull vanished, he dragged linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Hendrik Zetterberg down with him.

"It was hard for them to succeed , when they were always playing two against three", Detroit associate coach Barry Smith said.

Hull wasn't the only problem with Detroit's playoff performance, just it's most significant ailment. Left-winger Brendan Shanahan was a close second, shooting form the periphery, refusing to get his nose dirty. It crossed the mind of the coaching staff to scratch these malingerers, but their scoring potential remained better than anyone on the bench.

The team option on Shanahan's contract won't be picked up, but he eventually will be made a much less lucrative offer to remain in Detroit.

Left-winger Ray Whitney proved too small to make a difference in the playoffs and was easily snuffed out by the opposing checkers. "We're not quite big and gritty enough" Devellano said. "We need to get a goal scorer who is big & strong and tough to play against".

Even if there's any game left in his body, that's not Hulls game, one of the many reasons why it's over for him in Hockeytown.

This is the way it always works with Hull. When the end comes, the two sides never part amicably. It's always a messy divorce.

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Old
05-15-2004, 04:45 PM
  #2
King of Stankonia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Williams
. . .Out Of Shape

He was out of shape.

As one NHL analyst suggested, "It's hard to be a factor when you're 55 pounds overweight".

That's stretching a point, but Hull's commitment to fitness didn't measure up to his teamates.

Nor did his commitment to the team concept. . .
Just something that I seem to remember about this:

I think it was back in the Canada Cup in 1991 (now known as the World Cup of Hockey) that Brett Hull was supremely miffed about being left off of the Team Canada roster because he was 30 pounds overweight when final rosters were submitted. Because he gained dual citizenship shortly after leaving Calgary (either that or "announced" he had it) he decided to play with a less talented American squad, or what I remember as being less talented but that's neither here nor there.

Being a Canadian, I remember people booing him mercilessly at Maple Leaf Gardens at the final for his acts of "treachery". I was more concerned at the fact he sulked about being left off the roster and acted like a 10 year old playing street hockey who picked up his net and cried all the way home.

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05-15-2004, 10:48 PM
  #3
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Thank you for posting that article. VERY interesting. I'm pretty much against the Blues bringing him back and I wish a few fans who are just drooling over the possibility would read this article...

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05-15-2004, 11:15 PM
  #4
Tiger Williams
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Originally Posted by markus
Thank you for posting that article. VERY interesting. I'm pretty much against the Blues bringing him back and I wish a few fans who are just drooling over the possibility would read this article...
I was looking at letsgowings.com for the first time ever, to look for discussions about Hull, and saw that someone had posted this article there. A discussion ensued wherein many people questioned wether or not this article was authentic, and what kind of credibility Duff might have. No one could provide a link, so I went looking for the Windsor Star online, and found out:

1) There is no direct link to the Windsor Star

2) When looking for it, you will keep getting redirected to www.canada.com

3) If you do a search for "Hull" there, it takes you to this link:

http://www.canada.com/search/results...searchfor=hull

4) When you click either story that comes up, you'll get a message that says you have to be a subscriber to the Ottawa Citizen to view the article.

The only reason I mention all this is in case anyone here reads this article, and questions its authenticity--I always prefer to see links, and I know most other people do as well, just as proof...

One thing I did run across was another article by Duff raking the Wings over the coals:

http://www.newsletters.newsweek.msnbc.com/id/4895780/

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Old
05-16-2004, 01:52 AM
  #5
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Bring Back Brett

You know, there will always be a writer looking to make a splash, especially when a team falls flat like the Wings did.

Yes, Hull has certain issues. Yes, he has been called a prima donna before.

But, he is still an effective goal scorer and a fun player to have on your team. He's arguably one of the greatest wearers of the Bluenote ever and if he wants to come back, I for one think the team should take him back happily. You think he won't work out? How could team chemistry be any worse than it was the last few years? Think he and Weight might have some good games together? Pair Tkachuk and Demitra and Weight and Hull and we have two dangerous lines again.

His guaranteed 25+ goals will surely come in handy. Plus, his mouth is entertainment for every time you open the sports page.

I've hated rooting against him since he left - bring him back. Sullen because he played on the third line in Detroit will hardly be the problem here - he's top two lines guaranteed. Probably until he turns 50 the way this team has been building.

Yes, Hull has his own baggage, but he is one of the best to ever wear the Note. Let's do the classy thing and let him finish his career in it. St Louis is nationally known for the loyalty we show to our sports heroes. Let's prove it again with Hullie. You never know, he might get us a ton of goals along the way....

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Old
05-16-2004, 08:03 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Drake
Pair Tkachuk and Demitra and Weight and Hull and we have two dangerous lines again.
Id like to keep demitra. But id also like to get him away from Tkachuk. Demitra looks pass way too often now. And he has too good of a shot to be doing that. He was underutilized this last season. Id like to see a Hull Cajanek Demitra line. And then let weight and tkachuk figure out how to work together. Weight loves to pass and doesnt have much of a shot so that combo could work well if we have balanced scoring. I love tkachuks play. But he lets it be known that he wants the puck even when it isnt the right thing to do.

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05-17-2004, 12:44 PM
  #7
Lisa Bluenote
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I'm going to share a post from someone at Blues Talk. I don't know this poster personally, but from reading most, if not all, of her posts, I certainly feel like I can give credence to her thoughts (she is from Toronto, so I asked her if she could add any insights to Bob Duff's credibility or lack there of).

Quote:
bob duff is on all accounts a respected reporter and has had full access to team's dealings in the past. (i only assume this continues to this day). he's considered to be fair and honest.
look, there's no question that hully is a difficult horse to tame. he doesn't take to being told what to do easily. he thinks he has all the answers and it's been said believes his own press clippings which feeds his ego. the bloodlines also contribute to his arrogance.
this isn't a problem when things are ok, but when coaches, agents, players, locker room b.s. come into it, it's always thrown brett a curve and he's not eager to follow direction. as put to me in the past by 2 nhl coach's, an active scout in the league, and a former player - now agent, he's a real pain in the buttocks (trying to follow the language rules , the response universally was ... 'f'ing hully' before any additional conversation.
when brett's not happy, ain't nobody happy !
as far as the play of zetterberg and datysyuk is concerned, the speculation is that hully's impact on these two has been TOO much (nobody complains about the good influences of course, but now it's speculated that the bad influences are also being absorbed). no question, when everyone's firing on all cylinders it's pure magic. however when hull isn't playing flat out, is *****ing and moaning and not following direction, the 2 youngbloods may be picking up some bad habits as well. energy feeds energy ... good and bad.
so there's my 2 cents for what's it worth.
take from it what u will.
My own thoughts were that we Blues fans have seen the kind of behavior from Hull that Duff was talking about. Let's face it: Hull has talent, but we Blues fans have seen firsthand what the writer talked about. It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility that he pulled that stunt in Detroit, as well. Yes, Hull has talent ... but he's been known to sit on it if he's not a happy camper. For that reason (and others), I would prefer *not* to see Hull wearing the 'Note next season.

Carry on!
Lisa

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Old
05-17-2004, 01:18 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topshelf331
Id like to keep demitra. But id also like to get him away from Tkachuk. Demitra looks pass way too often now. And he has too good of a shot to be doing that. He was underutilized this last season. Id like to see a Hull Cajanek Demitra line. And then let weight and tkachuk figure out how to work together. Weight loves to pass and doesnt have much of a shot so that combo could work well if we have balanced scoring. I love tkachuks play. But he lets it be known that he wants the puck even when it isnt the right thing to do.

Moving Demitra off Walt's line because he doesn't shoot enough is crazy if you ask me. If you want Demitra to shoot more, tell him to shoot more. It is very simple PLUS we can keep the only real scoring tandem we have together. Besides which, Hull and Demitra(when he plays wing) are both Right Wingers. If we put them both on the same line one of them will be playing the off wing(unless we have Hull, Demitra and Walt all on the same line) and that will throw them off their game. I've seen that happen too many times in the League to risk it just because a player doesn't shoot enough. IMO we need to keep the top line of Walt, Cajanek and Demitra. That combo worked very well together and I see no reason to break them up. Demitra does need to work on his one-timer though, I saw him miss a lot of easy goals late in the season because he took his eye off the puck too early. That is easy to fix, but the work still needs to be done.

A second line based around Weight and Hull is nearly perfect for a second line; if Hull and Weight can click(which is in no way a certainty). Hullie will still recieve a lot of minutes, mostly on the PP, and that should keep his ego down to a tolerable level while Weight would get a top notch sniper to work with. Furthermore, Hullie can show Sejna how a sniper needs to play in order to be successful(and considering Hullie's record I'd say he'd provide a prety good example(even if he did rub some of his ego off on Sejna).

The bottom 2 lines are pretty set if we sign the guys we need(Drake and Sillinger). There is still room for a few youngsters to step in(or a FA pick up), and we would still have the ability to lower payroll substantially(probably over 10 mil if Pronger, Demitra, Sillinger, Drake, Weinrich and Osgood take slight paycuts) .

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Old
05-17-2004, 05:08 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimzey59
... Hull and Demitra(when he plays wing) are both Right Wingers. If we put them both on the same line one of them will be playing the off wing(unless we have Hull, Demitra and Walt all on the same line) and that will throw them off their game.
Hull played LW in the '96 World Cup on Weight's line and enjoyed it thoroughly. (See below for comments on Hull-Weight)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimzey59
Demitra does need to work on his one-timer though, I saw him miss a lot of easy goals late in the season because he took his eye off the puck too early. That is easy to fix, but the work still needs to be done.
100% correct there - he took a *lot* of shots that went wide far-side....but does he have the desire and work-ethic to improve that area of his game? More importantly, will we get to see whether he's worked on it or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimzey59
A second line based around Weight and Hull is nearly perfect for a second line; if Hull and Weight can click(which is in no way a certainty).
Granted, Hull is 8 years older now....but if they click anything like they did at the '96 World Cup when Hull said that Weight was the best center he'd had since Adam Oates, another 25-goal season could be a cinch.

But....with Hull it's never about the ability - it's about the desire. He admitted he wasn't a complete player until Ken Hitchcock made him play both ways in Dallas (sitting his tail on the bench when he slacked off on defense), and that had one of the Blues coaches cracked down on him in his time here, he'd have been a better player who could have led the Blues deeper in the playoffs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimzey59
Furthermore, Hullie can show Sejna how a sniper needs to play in order to be successful(and considering Hullie's record I'd say he'd provide a prety good example(even if he did rub some of his ego off on Sejna).
Someone correct me here if necessary...but am I correct in thinking that Hull never went out of his way to teach the younger players how to play offense? I'm thinking that Hull said time and time again his job was to score goals, not mentor other players....so I don't know that I'd count on Hull to teach Sejna how to hit the one-timer from the left circle.

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05-17-2004, 05:35 PM
  #10
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When I think of Brett Hull, the first thing that pops into my mind is the picture of Brett standing an arms length from Al Macinnis, leaning on his hockey stick, watching Al get beat up by two thugs (injuring his shoulder), and not at least trying to pull one of those guys off him.
When Hull and Mac became free agents, reportedly, Mac went to Blues management and told them that he had seen enough of the Hull soap opera, and that if they were going to resign him, he was going elsewhere.
Hull is a great player - but brings lots and lots of baggage.
I suspect the Blues may well bring him back for a year, but I would prefer that they didn't.

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05-17-2004, 05:51 PM
  #11
Lisa Bluenote
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnburner
When I think of Brett Hull, the first thing that pops into my mind is the picture of Brett standing an arms length from Al Macinnis, leaning on his hockey stick, watching Al get beat up by two thugs (injuring his shoulder), and not at least trying to pull one of those guys off him.
Probably with that pretty boy smirk on his face, too.

Carry on!
Lisa

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