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March 29, 2010
Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT
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March 29, 2010

The Vault

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Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT

EXCERPT | March 18, 1991

Star Turn

Brett Hull scored at a rate that was almost Gretzkian

With the NHL's two biggest stars aging (Wayne Gretzky) and ailing (Mario Lemieux), the league's spotlight fell on fourth-year pro—and brand-new scoring sensation—Brett Hull. Austin Murphy reported for SI.

Our cocktail waitress this afternoon is chewing gum and straining to their outermost limits the seams of her black microminiskirt. For the last 15 minutes here at Quincy's Pub in downtown Philadelphia, she has been sneaking glances at a rugged-looking blond with cobalt-blue eyes and terrific dimples. When the object of her interest gets up to feed the jukebox, she inquires of his drinking partner, "Who is he? Where have I seen him?"

Informed that she has been side-eyeing Brett Hull, the NHL's leading goal scorer and the most valuable player on the St. Louis Blues, she seems vaguely disappointed. "I thought maybe he was an actor," she says.

Perfectly understandable. As recently as three years ago hockey experts were also disappointed with Hull, then a spare part with the Calgary Flames, saying he was an NHL pretender, a plodding, one-way player whose naps in the defensive zone offset his knack for humiliating goaltenders. Three seasons and 194 goals later, Hull has joined Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in the rarefied aerie of NHL stars who transcend hockey.

An American playing in an American city, he has helped sell the game in the States. He is a pure goal scorer, a home run hitter in a league starved for such glamour boys.

Hull, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, played 13 more seasons and retired in 2006 with 741 career goals, third most in NHL history.

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