Darwin: ‘Hull Evolved More Than Most’

Tim Panaccio took a quick look back at Brett Hull’s career.

That amazing wrist shot from the circle? It was actually his dad, Bobby Hull’s, idea. Which is shocking, since Bobby Hull is synonymous with the slapshot. But the elder Hull said the quicker NHL game required a quicker shot.

It’s funny how we’ve come full circle. You rarely see anyone scoring off the rush from the circles. And as great as Brett Hull was, I don’t think he’d have nearly as many of those kinds of goals if he played his prime in the modern NHL. Goalies are simply too big and there’s too much traffic in front of the net to score with any kind of regularity from that far out.

In fact, if I was going to tell a young player to develop any particular shot, I think I’d suggest they work on a slapshot — something that can get through to the net. Not that it would lead to many goals, but the ability to rocket the puck in from the blueline can certainly set up other people for goals.

And that’s really one the neat things about hockey. The game evolves (and sometimes devolves) over time. What works for one generation doesn’t work for another. The ability to evolve is what separates the good players from the great players. Brett Hull developed his wrist shot because it worked. But I have no doubt if he had played in the current era, he would have developed a mammoth slapshot that would have scared the padding out of opposing goalies.

Also, my latest column on how coaches tend to put too much faith in the impact of speed is up.