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CuJo recalls Oates' Gretzky-like ability

by Dan Rosen

TORONTO -- For parts of two seasons ex-NHL goalie Curtis Joseph got an up close and personal view of one of the wonders of the National Hockey League -- Adam Oates' passing ability.

Joseph and Oates were teammates in St. Louis from 1990-92 and the goalie vividly recalls the Gretzky-like ability he saw from Oates every single day in practice.

"He was such a deceptive player," Joseph told Sunday at the Legends Classic. "He changed speeds and always had the other team off balance. Obviously everybody knows about his passing ability, but he sees the ice like very few."

Was it really Gretzky-like?

"I agree he was Gretzky-like in that skill," Joseph said. "He could thread the needle as good as anybody. He always looked for the pass and the guys would know he was passing but they still couldn’t stop him. That's quite an accomplishment."

Joseph said he knew back then that Oates was a Hall of Fame-type player.

"I kept one of his sticks at home," Joseph said. "I have a lot of Hall of Fame sticks at home and he's one of them. It's a wooden TPX stick. The value went up. It's worth more than mine, that's for sure."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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