Work in Sports
Lucky ... Good ... Brett Hull is all that
Posted: Friday June 02, 2000 05:44 PM
By Jamie MacDonald, CNNSI.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brett Hull showed the world what it means to be lucky and good.
His second goal of the night, the lucky one, nicked off his stick and held up as the game-winner. The first was a snap shot that should immediately be hung in the Brett Hull Goal Museum.
Of the bookend goals Hull scored in this 2-1 Dallas win in Game 2, the winner will ring louder in the box score. But that first one at 4:25 of the first? It may have been bigger.
"[Hull's] a big-game player," said Dallas winger Mike Keane, who, with three Stanley Cup rings knows a thing or two about big games. "Give him credit. People talk about Eddie being the Conn Smythe, but Brett's definitely right up there."
Isolated in the moment, the goal was pure Hull. But it would been impossible without the artful pursuit of forechecking. Ken Hitchcock must have loved watching this one unfold.
While New Jersey's top line -- which began the night paired against the Modano line -- scrambled in its defensive zone, scrambling to piece a breakout together, Modano charged hard in the direction of the corner to Brodeur's right. At the time, the puck was up for grabs, though it was heading in the direction of Devils winger Patrik Elias, who was stationed on the sideboards near the faceoff dot.
Before Elias could do anything to control the puck, Modano already had barreled into the area and chipped the puck to a spot in which only he could pick it up. But the puck wasn't on Modano's stick long before he spotted Hull moving into the offensive zone.
The high slot is like a La-Z-Boy to Hull, a quiet place he knows like no one else. A place where time can sometimes stand still. After taking Modano's pass on the forehand, Hull rocked onto his back foot and let a little snap shot fly. Of course, few of Hull's snapshots are little or innocuous. They are dangerous, always.
This was not the hardest shot of the night. But it was the best shot of the night, tucked neatly into the top right corner. And because Martin Brodeur was out of his net to play the angle, he was also a little less prepared to pick up the velocity of the puck, which snuck over the goaltender's glove hand.
Hull didn't talk about the goal after the game -- much to the pleasure of Keane, who prefers to wear a hat that reads "SHUT UP HULL" after games in which Hull is clearly the star -- but he didn't have too.
By the time the game ended, everything had been said. Hull is lucky and Hull is good.