A helluva ballot

And, no, I am not talking when G-Dub and the Cabal are replaced.

Brett Hull called it an NHL career this afternoon, one week after the Phoenix Coyotes "unretired" the No. 9 the old Winnipeg Jets raised to the rafters honoring "The Golden Jet," Bobby Hull.

Brett Hull was a brash kid when he broke into the league with the Calgary Flames in 1986. He was just as brash now 20 years down the road. He finishes third all-time in scoring behind Wayne Gretzky -- ironically, the last coach he plays for -- and Gordie Howe.

No question: "The Golden Brett" is headed to the Hall of Fame.

Four years from now, the NHL Hall of Fame class is shaping up as the best group to be enshrined at one time in ANY sport. Yes, you read that right.

Consider: Mark Messier -- Captain Clutch ... helped the New York Rangers put to bed the ghosts of 1940 when helped bring the Stanley Cup back to Manhattan ... a 6-time Cup winner.

Ron Francis -- one of the most consistent players of his era. ... 23 seasons with Hartford, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Toronto. ... 1,249 career assists ... two-time Stanley Cup winner.

Al MacInnis -- Perhaps the hardest slapshot in league history (I believe he broke Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Jocelyn Thibualt's finger with one of those drives) ... finished with 340 goals and 934 assists in his 23-year career. .. won a Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1986.

Scott Stevens -- Concussions ended his 22-year career with Washington, St. Louis and New Jersey ... Named MVP in 2000 ... blueliner led the Devils to three Stanley Cups and was considered the face of the franchise ... a 13-time All-Star.

Vincent Damphousse -- Spent 18 seasons with Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and San Jose .. finishes with 442 goals -- including 12 hat tricks -- and 773 assists ... helped the Canadiens in 1993 to their 23rd Stanley Cup. ... Played in 1,378 career games.

The lockout took a year away from these players. Except for Hull, it's too bad they will not get a chance to play in the new-look league.

See ya in Toronto in four years.

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