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March 28, 2010

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EXCERPT | March 18, 1991

Star Turn

Brett Hull scored at a rate that was almost Gretzkian

With the NHL's two biggest stars aging (Wayne Gretzky) and ailing (Mario Lemieux), the league's spotlight fell on fourth-year pro—and brand-new scoring sensation—Brett Hull. Austin Murphy reported for SI.

Our cocktail waitress this afternoon is chewing gum and straining to their outermost limits the seams of her black microminiskirt. For the last 15 minutes here at Quincy's Pub in downtown Philadelphia, she has been sneaking glances at a rugged-looking blond with cobalt-blue eyes and terrific dimples. When the object of her interest gets up to feed the jukebox, she inquires of his drinking partner, "Who is he? Where have I seen him?"

Informed that she has been side-eyeing Brett Hull, the NHL's leading goal scorer and the most valuable player on the St. Louis Blues, she seems vaguely disappointed. "I thought maybe he was an actor," she says.

Perfectly understandable. As recently as three years ago hockey experts were also disappointed with Hull, then a spare part with the Calgary Flames, saying he was an NHL pretender, a plodding, one-way player whose naps in the defensive zone offset his knack for humiliating goaltenders. Three seasons and 194 goals later, Hull has joined Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in the rarefied aerie of NHL stars who transcend hockey.

An American playing in an American city, he has helped sell the game in the States. He is a pure goal scorer, a home run hitter in a league starved for such glamour boys.

Hull, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, played 13 more seasons and retired in 2006 with 741 career goals, third most in NHL history.

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Sweet 16 Party

SI.com's Andy Glockner eyes the road ahead for the teams left in the Big Dance

Kentucky tore through the opening weekend like a national title contender should, pounding a 16 seed and a slumping 9. Now the competition gets steeper for John Wall and the Wildcats, who will potentially face two very dangerous offensive teams in Cornell and Washington or have to overcome West Virginia's extremely physical style. Kentucky has the best raw talent of any club left. This regional won't be a walkover, but the Cats are definitely the most talented team in it.

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PHOTOPhotograph by DAVID E. KLUTHOINCREDIBLE HULL Hull scored an NHL-best 86 goals in 1990--91, the second of three straight seasons in which he led the league with at least 70 goals. PHOTOPAINTING BY RUSSELL HOBAN PHOTOTONY TRIOLO PHOTOPAUL KENNEDY PHOTOBOB ROSATO (WALL) PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (LEMIEUX) PHOTODOZIER MOBLEY/GETTY IMAGES (EARNHARDT) TWO PHOTOSJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (NASH, ANTHONY) PHOTOCLIFF WELCH/ICON SMI (TEBOW) PHOTOGREG NELSON (WASHINGTON)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)