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Hull sees similarities between himself and Stamkos

by Dan Rosen / Tampa Bay Lightning

The whip you see in his stick, the accuracy and power with which he shoots, and the uncanny way Steven Stamkos always seems to find the open patch of ice reminds us of what we used to see from Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull.

Hull agrees. He sees the similarities and buys into the comparisons, too.

"Absolutely," Hull told Thursday morning from Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp. "He goes to the same areas of the ice. He's very patient. He's really developed that aspect of the game. I think in that aspect he's the best in the League by far."

Hull used to be. His one-timer was regarded as a lethal weapon -- and it helped him score 741 goals in 1,269 NHL games.

Stamkos, just 20 years old, already has 114 goals in 216 games, including a League-leading 40 in 55 games this season. He's only .06 goals per game off of Hull's career pace largely because he has the most lethal and accurate one-timer in today's NHL.

"He wasn't drafted where he was drafted (No. 1 in 2008) because he was no good and didn't have skill," Hull said. "I mean, this kid is an awesome player. He makes great passes, goes to the right areas on the ice -- and he's not one-dimensional either. He scores goals crashing the crease as well. So, yeah, he's very exciting."

Hull, though, wonders why more players aren't this way. He said it's not necessarily a difficult skill to learn if you practice it the way he used to and the way Stamkos has his whole life.

Stamkos told earlier this season that he developed his one-timer by shooting 400 to 500 shots per day when he was growing up. He said he still practices his one-timer after almost every practice because it's such an important shot in today's game.

"I think it's such a good shot in today's game with how good the goalies are," he said. "If you give them that extra split-second by stopping the puck on your stick they're going to be there."

Words like that are music to Hull's ears.

"To me it should be something that you develop when you're growing up, but it's amazing how many people can't do it or know where to go on the ice to do it," Hull said. "Maybe I was inherently good at it, but I can't believe more people don't do it. Maybe it's because the way the game is and how people are taught how to play the game. I think it should be in everyone's repertoire. It's how you score goals."

Stamkos also scores because, like Hull, he knows how to adjust to the pass. He even goes down on one knee in picturesque Hull form because it's a trick to making a bad pass look good.

"The only way the pass doesn't work is if it's behind you," Hull said. "That's why I started going down on my front knee. Everyone thought it was to get power, but if the puck is a little bit in front of you and you go down on your knee it changes your angle and that pass a little bit in front of you is not in front of you anymore -- it's in your wheelhouse."

Stamkos, Hull said, has the proper tool as well. Though he hasn't seen his stick up close, he can only assume that the curve in the blade and the flexibility in the shaft are perfect for a guy who wants to use his shot as a weapon.

"If you've got a terrible hockey stick it doesn't matter what you do, you can't do it," Hull said. "Some of these kids, even in Dallas, I go into our dressing room and I'm like, I don't even know how these kids play with these sticks they're so bad. They're the wrong curve, the wrong lie, they're too stiff.

"I complained and complained about the curve rule forever and now I wish I didn't because I've never seen players miss the net more than I do right now. If you can't hit the net you have no chance to score."

Stamkos rarely misses.

"That's right, and that's why he scores," Hull said.

That's why he reminds us of Hull.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Author: Dan Rosen | Senior Writer

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