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Which teams have stood out to you the most this season?

The Seattle Kraken. They didn't make the playoffs in their first year, but what they've done to create the chemistry they have in their second year, with a number of expansion players and some draft picks, has been very impressive.

Also the Devils. I don’t think anyone thought they could be doing what they're doing. To have had the start they had, after a few games they were yelling to fire their coach, and then they rifled off 13 wins in a row.

How hard is it for an expansion franchise to create a competitive team within its first two seasons?

They have done a phenomenal job. When you see what it takes to do that, you really have to tip your hat to their scouting staff to be able to go out and understand what type of players these guys are.  Some were run-of-the-mill players on the franchises they were with, but Seattle knew if they got a chance, a little more playing time, playing with some better players, what kind of players they would become. They’ve obviously made some great choices, like Vegas did a few years ago. To do that, and find a good coach to put them together and be patient, it's quite a feat.

Are there any players who have caught your eye this season?

Robertson for the Dallas Stars is having a year. You can't say enough about those two guys in Edmonton, Draisaitl and McDavid. It’s scary if they could surround them with a little more talent and some goaltending. Edmonton could be back to the glory days with Gretzky and Messier and Grant Fuhr. Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins are having a crazy year. And Tage Thompson in Buffalo. I think it's his fifth year after he was traded from the St. Louis Blues, but you can see what he's doing now and his potential. The Buffalo Sabres are a team to be reckoned with in the near future.

How much have you enjoyed watching Alex Ovechkin over the last 18 years?

It's really incredible. You look at other sports and usually consistency is a guy getting 20 or 25 goals for six or seven seasons. Well, this guy's been getting 50 goals for 18 years. It's incredible. He's a marvel to watch. He’s never changed the way he's played. He's a beast out there. No one can shoot harder. But you still can't stop him after all these years. He is a freak of nature and I have really enjoyed watching him.

How big of an achievement is it for him to be even threatening Gretzky’s goal record?

It’s incredible because I got 741 goals myself and I don't think I could have scored another goal. I thought that was about as close as anyone could get to Gordie Howe with 801 and Wayne way up with 894. In all seriousness, 80 goals for him is two seasons, and he's got plenty of life left in him. So, unless something happens, he looks unstoppable to catch Wayne's goal record, although that'll be the only record of Wayne's which will ever be broken because all the other ones are crazy.

What did it mean to you to get that ring for St. Louis and the Blues franchise in 2019?

I wasn't worried about me because I was fortunate enough to get the two while I was playing, but for the city of St. Louis, you know, since 1967, I'm not sure there's been a more loyal fan base. Through good times and bad times, I can't remember what year it was in the ‘80s when they didn't even get to draft because they didn't have an owner. The fans were there through thick and thin, so for them to finally get that parade down Market Street was just a tribute to them more than anything. It was so great to see.

What have you made of Dallas’s season so far?

They’re a solid team. They've had some injuries as well, but they've got great goaltending, they've got great players and they're gonna be right in there till the very end in the playoffs.

How do you assess the current situation in Detroit?

They’re coming. They’ve got some good young players. When you have to rebuild, it is a tedious process and drafting is so important. If you miss on a couple of draft picks, it can set you back a couple of years. It looks like they’ve picked well so now it just takes time for those guys to mature and then to fill the roster around them. You can get good really fast. So, they're on their way up, I can see that.

Why do you think Canadian franchises have struggled to keep pace with US teams in recent years?

Playing for a Canadian team is a double-edged sword. It’s the life bed of hockey, it's the national sport, it's everything up there apart from the Blue Jays and the Raptors. Playing there is spectacular, and you become almost a household name. You look at [Auston] Matthews and [Mitch] Marner in Toronto and [Leon] Draisaitl and [Connor] McDavid in Edmonton. They’re all household names and they become very famous, but there's also a lot of pressure on you to win for those Canadian teams.

Looking at it from a team’s point of view, with the economy, the taxes, the weather, it’s hard to get superstar free agents to come and play for your team because of where they're situated. It's great to be a part of a Canadian franchise, but there's also a lot of great teams in the United States and a lot of states that have no state tax. So that's part of the problem, and that's probably one of the reasons why it's been such a drought.

What can Canadian franchises do to bridge that gap?

They somehow have to be able to make it financially more suitable for players to come up there and play. To me, that’s about it. The cities, the people, are fantastic. Being a part of a Canadian team, you're treated like gold. But I just think it's hard to lure free agents and it's hard to keep people into multi-year contracts because they just want to play theirs out and leave. That’s the biggest problem.

What was the pressure like coming into the league with your dad being an NHL legend?

At that point I'd done it my whole life. I was used to it, I don't know if it was pressure, but I was used to being Bobby Hull’s son. As far as coming into the NHL, at that point, I had already figured out that I was never gonna be Bobby Hull. I just had to be Brett Hull and just go out and play my game and do the best I could. I always said if I could keep one foot in his shadow and one foot out, making my own shadow, and we could put the shadows together, it would be fantastic. And fortunately for me, that did happen, and I had my own very successful career.

Which current player reminds you most of yourself?

Well, I think the first player you have to look at is Ovechkin. We played a very similar style. He's far more physical than I was, but we go to the same areas on the ice, we love our one-timers and we set up as right handers in the exact same spot. We love to score goals. Maybe even a little Steven Stamkos, who plays like both Alex and I, so I think those are the two closest guys that I would compare myself to.

And which current player would you have most liked to have played with?

I would love to say Connor McDavid, but it would never work because I could never keep up with him. He's too fast! But I like Mitch Marner. I'd love to play with a guy like that who just loves to make plays. Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado, too. Anybody that loves to move the puck and is smart and creative, I would love to play with.

Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup this season?

It looks like Boston's gonna be very hard to beat in the East. I think it's anybody's game out West. I'm gonna lean Dallas to make it to the Finals, and we'll have a Boston-Dallas Finals.

Build your perfect player


There’s only one, it's Connor McDavid. It looks like he floats on top of the ice.


There’s no question it's Alex Ovechkin. Nobody can shoot it like Alex Ovechkin.


There’s a number of good passers, but I like Mitch Marner in Toronto.


How about Barzal on the Island? He can really handle that puck.

Hockey IQ

Sidney Crosby. There's no one else. He's the best all-around player in the game. Offense, defense, passing, shooting, all-around play. To me, he's a hockey genius.