It’s the spookiest time of the year with ghouls and goblins about. One of horror’s biggest loudmouths was Freddy Krueger and there’s only one St. Louis Blues player that springs to mind who can match that.
The modern-day slasher film, often associated with the holiday Halloween, really came to prominence in the 1970’s with John Carpenter’s Halloween. Things took another step with Friday the 13th and then Wes Craven took it even further with Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. There is only one player for the St. Louis Blues that could match all the nightmarish villain could offer in terms of entertainment.
The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, along with Krueger, took the next step in the horror genre. While silent, masked killers who relied on brute strength were feature in the other films, Craven and star Robert Englund went to the other end of the spectrum.
Like the NHL transitioning from the 70’s to the 80’s and then 1990’s, horror needed a little more edge to it. It needed a little more speed and style rather than pure, brute force.
Krueger was an entertainer as much as he was a psycho killer. Instead of just attacking people in the real world, he took children (let’s be honest, these actors were not children, but they were playing children) in their dreams, while they slept.
He couldn’t just do the deed and be done with it though. Krueger was as mouthy as any hockey player in terms of trash talking and he had a flair about him matched only by wrestling villains of the time.
When you combine all these attributes, only one Blues star really pops to mind. Thus, the Golden Brett, Brett Hull, is the Blues own version of Freddy Krueger.
Like the film series, Hull started out very strong, but just kept improving. Yes, the films got a little more campy each time out, but they were fun to watch and the technology kept improving the effects.
Hull was good right out of the gate, scoring 84 points in his first season with the Blues after being acquired from the Calgary Flames. Coach Brian Sutter was not happy enough with that, so Hull followed that up with three seasons of 70-plus goals and four straight seasons surpassing 100 points.
But, like Krueger, he didn’t just do it and be done with it. Hull was a showman.
He wasn’t overtly cocky in terms of today’s baseball or football players, with weird celebrations for every little thing. There was a smugness to him that he backed up because nobody could stop him.
Like a teenager falling asleep, all it took was one drowsy moment by a defender and Hull was going to score. Like Krueger haunting the dreams of his victims, NHL goaltenders had nightmares about Hull setting up for a one-timer from the slot.
Unlike those before him, Krueger found inventive ways to torment his victims. It was not just the same, old grab a weapon and chop them in the head, etc. The king of nightmares had all sorts of tricks up his sleeve.
He could stretch through the ceiling, walk through prison bars or contort his body into all manner of creatures. In one film, he permanently attached a kid’s hearing aids and then blew out his eardrums.
He could levitate you and drag you around the walls and ceiling or he could drag you to hell with his steel-clawed glove, which was his trademark.
Hull was similar in that he had a multitude of ways to score. He was not just a slap shot artist, but he had one of the harder shots in the league.
Hull could unleash a quick wrist shot, the likes of which Blues fans did not witness again until Vladimir Tarasenko. He scored off those one-knee one timers or he floated by defenders and roofed one over the goalie.
Like Krueger, you could kind of slow down Hull with some violence. Freddy got beat up probably more than any other villain, so he was good at selling as they say in the wrestling world. Hull was someone you could slow down if you got a body on him early and often.
Still, both men found a way to get what they wanted – up until the end, at least.
Hull got a lot of goals and Freddy took a lot of lives. Hull never won the Stanley Cup in St. Louis, which is what he really wanted, and Freddy never got to kill Heather Langenkamp, or Nancy Thompson (the two became interchangable after 1994’s New Nightmare).
It was the mouth that became synonymous for both. Hull would trash talk in games, but so did a lot of players. It was his candidness in the media that was a bit shocking for the hockey world. As his career went on, he regularly bagged on coaches or situations he did not like.
That would have fit right in with Krueger. Freddy was known for one-liners right from the start, but as the films went on, it became almost a comedy act. He often spoke with a forked tongue, and sometimes had a literal one too.
Also, let’s be honest, the comparison goes both ways. You could totally see Krueger rubbing his nipples or drunkenly singing Gloria, if he had a few too many.
Hull just spoke his mind, but that got old after awhile. Similarly, Freddy became kind of stale and they tried to reboot him and it did not work.
Nevertheless, during their golden years, Hull and Freddy Krueger were two of the hottest things going in their respective fields.