View Full Version : Goodbye Brett Hull - thanks for the Cup

07-03-2001, 10:06 PM
Damn I'm going to miss Hull
Dallas Morning News

In a plot from a bad Western, Brett Hull comes in and cleans up the town, just as he was hired to do. But when he commandeers the saloon and ticks off the mayor and makes a bad example for Mikey and the rest of the impressionable boys, the town council invites him to leave before he shoots off his mouth again.

Some other town will hire Hull. He still has the firepower, as those 39 goals from last season attest.

But he wore out his welcome. Owner of the fastest one-timer in all the land, Hull finds that the Stars no longer have need of his services.

So off he rides into a hockey sunset.

Fade to black and blue.

Goodbyes are never easy. That is, unless Tom Hicks is waving at Ken Caminiti with one hand, the other wrapped like a vise around his wallet.

As Hicks' free-agent buys go, Hull was a bargain compared to Caminiti. Not that Cammy didn't try, of course. In his short and curious tenure here, he was always volunteering for suicide missions, when all the Rangers wanted him to do was go out for doughnuts.

Unlike Caminiti, Hull delivered. Besides giving the defensive-oriented Stars a big-time scoring threat, Hull provided the most famous goal in Stars history, and Buffalo's, too.

Sure, his skate was in the crease. But who carried it off better than Hull? Perched atop a locker in the visitors' dressing room, exulting in the moment some critics said he'd never see, Hull called out to Mike Keane for one of his fat victory cigars.

"You can't have one," Keane said. "Your foot was in the crease."

"Maybe, but it's too late," Hull said, smiling that crooked smile, "because the cup's in here now."

Now Hull is gone, and Keane, too. Funny that they should go out together. They were alike in temperament if not style: Keane, a gritty and vocal leader; Hull, a lippy hired gun.

Without them, the Stars' locker room will be a quieter place, and a safer one for Ken Hitchcock.

After the disappointing end to this season, there was some speculation that the clock might be ticking on the Stars' coach. Now, his biggest critic, Hull, is moving on, and so is Keane, the only other voice in the locker room that might challenge him.

Who among the players will belly up to Hitchcock now? Mike Modano? He isn't afraid to speak up, but not if he's alone in the sentiment.

Certainly the Stars will be a different team without Hull and Keane, and with the additions of Pierre Turgeon, Donald Audette and others. Deeper and more active offensively, they will now have three scoring lines instead of two.

But a less obvious metamorphosis comes in the locker room. Broadcast analyst Daryl Reaugh referred to the need for it rather obliquely in his last column on the club's Web site. Citing "internal baggage they labored under," Razor wrote that this team had "more issues with direction" than any recent ones.

Coincidence or not, out goes Hull and Keane, and in comes Turgeon and Audette, two tough but quiet players. And, on a lesser note, here comes Craig Ludwig, a player respected by his teammates but a backer of Hitchcock's system, returning now as an assistant.

The upshot: Either Modano and captain Derian Hatcher grow into their roles as team leaders, or Hitchcock becomes the dominant personality in the locker room.

As it is, Stars general manager Bob Gainey made it clear where he stands regarding his coach, who will probably be getting a contract extension any day now.

For now, anyway, this is Hitchcock's team, and not any player's. Maybe this is the way to go. Maybe the Stars can't afford to have any chirpy players chipping away at a rigid system that nonetheless produced a Stanley Cup champion.

The funny thing is, they might not have that cup without Hull.

Who would have thought it? He'd never fit in Dallas' system, critics said, and in the end, maybe he didn't. But, for a little while, at least, he did what he was hired to do.

Early one morning in Buffalo, he got off the most famous shot in Stars history. As hired guns go, it isn't a bad epitaph.

07-03-2001, 10:18 PM
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Tuesday, July 3, 2001
By Jennifer Floyd
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Stars' scenarios on offense snowball

NHL Notes IRVING - A daunting decision confronted Stars general manager Bob Gainey around midday Monday: Sign Donald Audette or re-sign Brett Hull?
Bye, bye, Brett. Hello, Audette.

In a decision Gainey called "difficult," the Stars signed Audette to a four-year, $12 million deal Monday, basically ending what had been a prosperous three seasons for Hull in Texas. Goals were scored (116), Stanley Cup Finals were reached and a Cup was won.

"I think that the relationship has been a very valuable one for the team, and I think it has been a good relationship for Brett," Gainey said. "But as relationships start, relationships also come to a close. That's where we feel we are today."

The sticking point was seasons, not dollars.