So the St. Louis Blues have announced that they will erect a statue of Brett Hull outside Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MI. Actually, they already announced that earlier this year, but now they have confirmed it will be unveiled on Oct. 9 before the team’s home opener. The statue will reside “outside Scottrade Center’s main entrance on Brett Hull Way”.
Hull is the third sculpture to be erected by the Blues. Already on the footsteps of the stadium are sculptures of Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis. The MacInnis statue was unveiled one year ago on Oct. 8, 2009 before the 2009-10 season opener.
Hull is deserving of the honour. After all, he scored some 700+ goals during his NHL career, 527 of which were scored in St. Louis colours. He won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in 1990-91, the same year he scored 86 goals. His jersey #16 was retired by the Blues in 2006. To date, he is unquestionably the biggest star to don the St. Louis colours in franchise history.
So with Hull, MacInnis and Federko on the landscape, what other Blues deserve a similar honour. Brian Sutter and his retired #11 may be an obvious choice. He got the Blues to the Conference final in 1986. So too is Glenn Hall – he got the Blues into three-straight Stanley Cup finals from 1968 to 1970.
My choice is Adam Oates, preferably a sculpture positioned as close to the Hull sculpture as possible. After all, in Hull’s three best seasons, it was pass-master Oates who was feeding Hull all those pucks.
Oates time in St. Louis was brief, real brief from just 1989-90 to 1991-92. Yet, he was a standout playing alongside Hull, forming the most dangerous duo in the league. He scored 79 assists in 1989-90 and an incredible 90 assists in 1990-91. He was traded to the Bruins in 1991-92, but still managed to lead the Blues in assists for the third consecutive season (59 assists in 54 games before the trade).
Oates is sometimes forgotten amongst the NHL’s elite players. He has yet to be honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it should be just a matter of time. Oates is one of 12 players that won the NHL’s assist title three or more times during their careers. Eleven of them have been inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame: everyone except Oates. Oates’ three titles were won after he left the Blues (1992-93, 2000-01 and 2001-02).
Hull was a terrific NHL player, but he was an exceptional NHL player in three seasons playing alongside Oates. Hull gets his statue this October, but when will Oates be bronzed beside him?
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