When I was a little boy living out the outskirts of this city there were two athletes and two athletes alone that were larger than life. Ozzie Smith and Brett Hull. Ozzie got his ring, his three pennants, and every accolade imaginable. Brett got his as well, but never wearing the note across his chest. He got his looking out of place in Detroit and Dallas.
He did come close. But, the St. Louis Blues killed that chance. They did the unforgivable. They made the decision that has cursed this organization for almost 25 years. They hired that rat faced piece of garbage Mike Keenan.
You think that what I just said was harsh? Watch this clip. It will make you sick to your stomach.
I’m guessing you’re with me now.
Let’s repaint the picture. It was 1996, the Blues were good. They were headed to the playoffs for 17th straight season, then they landed the great one. They landed Wayne Gretzky. That gave our Blues four future no doubt lock hall of famers on one team. Hull, Gretzky, MacInnis, and Chris Pronger. They had lost Grant Fuhr to a knee injury and back up John Casey was in net.
That shot. You can all see it now. Over his shoulder. The most talented team in the history of the franchise lost in the second round. But, there was hope, there was next year. Hull and Wayne were BFF’s, of course he was going to stay.
No. He wouldn’t. Though I doubt he would say it…but when the boss is toxic…When everyone to a man hates the guy in charge… When you know more about hockey than the guy bossing you around…why wouldn’t you leave to go play with your other BFF in NYC?
You would, and MR. Gretzky did.
And the hockey gods smited us. And we deserved it. When you make a decision that horrible, it will reverberate for decades to come. And you deserve every single bit of heartbreak you get. Every single bit.
But now…ohh but now. The Golden Brett is front and center where he should be. Doing pump up videos. Screaming at the crowd before the puck drops in the Stanley Cup final. He is home, where he belongs. There are no more hard feelings. No more lingering hate. He is truly a Blue again.
Is that what we needed? That and the signing of Ryan O’Reilly…and bringing Patty Maroon back to his hometown? Or was it choosing a positive culture and the players over hard nosed my way or the highway coaches? We only have a few days left to see if the curse of Mike Keenan will be lifted…or to find this is just the hockey gods telling us all once again that a colossal failure like hiring Mike Keenan and taking his side is the type of mistake that must be paid for in full…with the tears of generation after generation.
Only the next few days will tell.
Until then, Long Live the Golden Brett