The crowd reaction before the game was more exciting than after. Hull's dream team were all front and center, capped off by the return of Mr. 18 Game Blue himself, Wayne Gretzky - I loved Garth Butcher's introduction of 99 as someone who wanted to retire in St. Louis. Thank you for reminding us about Mike Keenan and his asinine judgment of not giving Gretzky a significant extension because of performance in one round of the playoffs. Because, you know, Wayne isn't the greatest player of ALL TIME or anything. And a team with Hull and Gretzky on it for a few years wouldn't be absolutely amazing. Thanks, Mike, from saving us from that hell.
Actually, the whole night was a reminder of what could have been - Shanny, Cujo... very nearly every Blue on Hull's team was someone who was either directly or indirectly screwed over by Keenan, least of all Hull himself. A fan belted out "I hate Mike Keenan!!" - or at least that's what it sounded like - in the middle of the ceremony, causing almost every one on the ice to crack up, and made John Davidson put his hand over his mouth rather quickly.
Hull's speech was touching - I can't help but wonder what the brass in Dallas thinks of him constantly saying how important St. Louis is to him - and the recollections of the players were rather hysterical, even though they never could think of a family friendly story for the jumbotron. But perhaps best of all is what Hull mentioned after the ceremony and game were over:
"I saw T.J. Oshie today and he just reminds me of me when I was a kid," he said. "It just brought back a flood of memories when I got traded here ... walking into the old arena and going, 'I'm going to show these guys what I got.'
"You're going to have some of those young kids playing for the Blues now, they're going to be Hall of Famers. Their jerseys are going to be in the rafters, and hopefully I can come back and be a part of their ceremony."
Hull doesn't need a statue or a job to be part of the Blues family - it appears we're stuck with him, and the rest of our alumni from the team, for a very long time.