SUN Hockey Pool

Brett like Gold to 'mates

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 5:20 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Craig Conroy had heard Brett Hull's reputation before he arrived in St. Louis all those years ago.

Reality differed from the perception.

"The first game I play, he lets me wear his gloves," said the Flames centre, who was traded from the Montreal Canadiens in October 1996.

"He's got a bunch of them and said, 'It's not good to wear new ones. Wear this pair.' I score in my first game and said, 'I want to keep them.'

"He treated everyone really well. A lot of times I'd hear people say, 'Brett Hull is a bad teammate,' but I'd say, 'Well, then you never played with Brett Hull. He's a great teammate.' He likes to score and put up his points, but he got paid to do that."

Hull scored a lot during his NHL career -- 741 times in the regular season and 202 more in the playoffs -- which is why he was elected to the Hall of Fame, a designation the Blues will honour him for prior to tonight's clash with the Flames.

Conroy spent nearly two full seasons with the Golden Brett in St. Louis before Hull left for Dallas as a free agent prior to the 1998-99 season.

"He wanted to bring a Stanley Cup to St. Louis so bad," Conroy said.

"People said, 'You can't win a Stanley Cup with Brett Hull.' Obviously, he left and did win, but no matter where he played, I'll always think of him as a St. Louis Blue."

Hull was originally drafted by Calgary but traded late in the 1987-88 season after compiling 26 goals and 50 points in 52 games for the Flames.

Ultimately, he was known for his interviews as much as his playing abilities.

"I think he'd say things just to get a rise out of people, so it was fun to listen in," Conroy said.

"He'd have a scrum, you'd never know where it was going.

"I'd like to listen to see what he'd say."

Of course, Hull's tongue was just as sharp with his teammates, which Conroy remembered from a time Hull was on a two-on-one rush with Pierre Turgeon.

"They get back to the bench and Hullie says, 'I have 500 goals, you have 300' -- Brett knew the stats at the time, but I'll have to make them up -- 'I'm the shooter, you're the passer,' " Conroy recalled.

"Two periods later, they have another two-on-one, and Pierre throws the puck probably around his knee, but Hullie somehow took it out of the air and into the top corner.

"He gets back to the bench and said, 'I didn't say it had to be a good pass.' "

As for those bad teammate charges, Conroy says people need to dig deeper.

"I remember his 500th goal, It looked like it hit Stephane Matteau on the way in when Hullie shot.

"There was the big hoopla, he said, 'I didn't score that. I do not want that goal,' " Conroy recalled.

"He scored it with a hat-trick in the third period."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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