spotlight on the opponent: jiri hudler

Jiri hudler

Our old friend, Jiri Hudler, is off to a good start with the Flames. Hudler has 5/8/13 in 12 games so far, and has registered a point in all but two games so far this season.

Some have called Hudler the Flames’ MVP this season, and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg has taken notice of his former teammate and friend’s hot start.

“He’s a good player, and there’s a reason why Calgary went after him (in free agency in July 2012),” Zetterberg told the Detroit News. “He’s not a big guy but he plays big and he has real good balance. He’s strong, and can play the net front. He’s a great kid and obviously we miss him.”

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock sounds, now, like a man who never wanted to see Hudler leave, despite Jiri’s falling out of favor with Detroit fans near the end of his stay with the Red Wings—and despite Babcock’s own frustrations with Hudler at times.

“He’s brilliant with the puck, he knows how to play,” Babcock also told The News. “He was in a good organization for a long time and he learned how to play without the puck. I think he’s a real good player, I really do.”

Hudler’s time in Detroit ended on a sour note, but he’s kicked it up a notch or two in Calgary. Hudler wears no. 24 with the Flames.

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