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Brett Hull on Ovechkin: “He’s going to thrive under Oates”

Nov 13, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT

Hull Oates

If anybody knows the value of Adam Oates, it’s Brett Hull.

When Hull became the third man in NHL history to score 80-plus goals in a single season (86 in 1990-91) it was Oates, his Hall of Fame center, who often played setup man.

So no surprise that Hull’s predicted great things now that Oates is coaching one of the NHL’s premier snipers — Alex Ovechkin.

“It’s crazy,” Hull told the Washington Post. “He’s going to thrive under Oates. There’s just no question.

“When I played, Adam was my coach. He told me what we were going to do, when we were going to do it, how we were going to do it and it always worked.”

The Blues legend suggested that Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom could become a modern-day version of Hull and Oates, who combined for over 600 points in nearly three full seasons together.

Such production would be a welcome development in Washington, especially after Ovechkin’s offensive output shrunk to a career-low 65 points last season.

“To me, the number one thing in being a great coach is being able to understand great players,” Hull explained. “When you’re a great player, like Adam, and have played with great players you understand them.

Hull wasn’t the only benefactor of Oates’ presence. Joe Juneau scored a career-high 32 goals in Oates’ first year in Boston — Juneau would never score more than 19 in a single season — and upon moving to Washington, Oates helped Peter Bondra score a career-high 52 goals in 1997-98.

As such, Hull sounded almost giddy about the prospect of what Oates will do with the Great 8.

“Alex Ovechkin is going to be like a kid in a candy store,” he said.

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