Saturday, August 21, 2004

Brett Hull speaks out about ice time

After some prodding from journalists on Friday at the opening of the Team USA World Cup training camp, Brett Hull opened up and talked some about his departure from the Red Wings. It's nothing all that different from what we had heard before, just confirmation of some rumors. As we'd heard before, his biggest problem was with the ice-time he was getting. "They just took the ice time away. Pavel (Datsyuk) and I were playing 12 and 13 minutes. That's fine if you want to do that to me, but you've got one of the top five players in the league, play him until he dies," he said. Brett's complaint is not all that well founded since he averaged just about 17 (16:53) minutes of ice time in the regular season and 15 (15:15) over two rounds of the playoffs. He played in the 11-, 12-, or 13-minute range only seven times in 81 games played. That's pretty good considering he once went 20 games without a goal and was a team-worst minus-4. As for Pavel, he lead team forwards with 18 minutes (18:16) during the regular season and was fourth with 17 (17:23) during the playoffs, when he was behind Kris Draper, Robert Lang and Kirk Maltby. All three of whom were needed more anyway, Maltby and Draper for their defensive abilities and Lang for his size and strength. In both cases the apparent drop in ice time can be easily attributed to their lackluster playoff performances. Datsyuk had six assists but no goals through 12 games and Hull had three goals and five points over the same span. Brett's been around long enough to know that a player who isn't performing at a high level is going to have their ice time cut, no matter how long he's been around. The ball was in his court and he couldn't get it done. It's not Dave Lewis' fault. Hull's ice time probably should have been cut even more, in all honesty, and he's lucky Lewis is such a nice guy or else it would have been.


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