Posts tagged “Jiri Hudler”

Hudler’s Gone

It’s official:

As I have a soft spot for former Griffins, this is kind of a bummer. It was expected, but still. I think he might have been worth that much to the Wings (at least compared to Samuelsson), but so it goes.

The Saddest Play of the Season

You know.

The Root of Sadness

This is where Ian White sees somethings shiny to his right and ignores the perfectly good, nearly as shiny thing right in front of him.

Why?

This is where three Red Wings chase Martin Erat like he stole their wallets.

Sadness

Now he stole Jimmy Howard’s wallet too.

Crap

This is where they all realize Kevin Klein is about to steal their car. The wallet thefts were just a ruse hiding the bigger plan!

Slam Dunk

This is where Kevin Klein steals their car while Martin Erat counts the money he stole as he stands in the corner.

What just happened?

That’s what Ian White is asking while Nick Lidstrom skates away shaking his head and Jimmy Howard double-checks the cash he hides in his pads.

We don’t know, Ian. We don’t know.

Followup: Hudler & Sharp

Still, what I said here stands. The slash wasn’t malicious and it was portrayed as such by some.

On Hudler’s Slash & A Narrative

It’s just one line in a regular injury report:

It’s not clear if Sharp was injured on a slash from the Red Wings’ Jiri Hudler after he scored a goal at 4:19 of the first period, or from a fall.

But it stuck out to me: the picture painted by the words “after he scored a goal.” Particularly the word “after.”

Tim Sassone may not mean to do this, but that phrasing suggests an angry Jiri Hudler laying a cheapshot on Patrick Sharp after the fact.

A quick viewing of the replay reveals that Hudler did nothing of the kind, since he and Sharp go almost exact opposite directions following the goal. So what Sassone’s obviously referring to is the slash Hudler lays on just prior to Sharp’s quick windup and release. An innocuous play that nonetheless very well could have led to a small broken bone.

Even allowing that, it was hardly the work of an angry player. But it fits a chosen narrative of the Chicago/Detroit relationship. You know, Ed Olczyk’s favorite posture when color-calling these games: the aggressor Wings acting out against the innocent Blackhawks. It’s one the fans in Chicago have bought fully. Just look at how some chose to respond to Kronwall’s low-grade kronwalling of Andrew Shaw.

Joel Quenneville, of course is comfortable letting that narrative persist. His non-committal responses to questions about the Sharp injury are great examples of a natural unwillingness to set the record straight. Because the two teams are rivals, obviously. I wouldn’t expect anything else from the coach of Chicago. But he’s the coach, not the media.

I should say Hudler’s not been thrown under the bus in all quarters: Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) has been leaning on the “Sharp fell” cause for the injury and presents some compelling visual evidence. And as I suggested above, Hudler’s slash can’t be ruled out, as anyone who remembers Bryan Adams’ breaking Henrik Zetterberg’s leg knows. Either of these two incidents could have caused it.

My point is how Hudler’s possible role is framed, and how that fits into a larger narrative I see in this rivalry and often with other fanbases: the Wings as a dirty team.

I’m under no delusion that the Wings are angels, but it feels a little rich for the color guy or fans of a team that employs pond scum like Dan Carcillo to promote that construct with no sense of the irony. The only team with a lower penalty-minute/game average than the Wings is Phoenix. Obviously, the Wings-are-dirty crowd can counter with the claim that they get away with a ton, but I already know I’m not going to change any minds.

I guess I’m just asking for precision in wording from the media to help keep this stuff to a minimum. If Hudler slashes a guy during a shot, it’s not after the goal. Pretty straightforward.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any Hudler chatter out of the Chicago ‘base leading up to the rematch on Saturday.

Quick Thoughts From Camp

In case you didn’t see my tweets from Traverse City yesterday, some quick thoughts on the one day of camp I was able to attend:

The difference between the organization #1 goalie and a kid fighting for a spot in a logjam: after the practice portion of the morning, the group splits into squads that do this skating routine that’s like watching team speed skating. The leader goes along a route either he decides or that’s pre-determined (I’m not sure which) and the guys behind him follow at a couple feet’s distance.

Jordan Pearce  did  his best to follow the exact route set by the leader at his best pace and ended up struggling to finish most times in his heavy equipment. I’m pretty sure he got lapped a couple times. Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard took abbreviated routes at a much more leisurely pace and didn’t keel over at the end.

Jimmy’s somewhat casual attitude was also evident in other drills, which isn’t a huge surprise as the other top tier guys obviously hold something back in these scenarios too.

Ty Conklin’s been attacked by a bush: He’s got a big beard. If he doesn’t contain that thing, he could gain some extra chest padding in the form of facial hair before the end of the season. Conks looked good in drills, so here’s hoping that translates into the season.

Hudler is very short in person: It’s kind of shocking just how short. He played a bit bigger than he is, though, in the scrimmage. Seemed to be working to try to make a splash. Wasn’t all that successful, but points for effort, I guess.

Moods: Bertuzzi didn’t miss an opportunity to slam a puck into the net or, if he missed, the endboards. He seemed annoyed. Holmstrom looked like he was just having fun. He showed off his ridiculous top-shelf-at-close-range abilities while goofing off during down time in the practice.

Eyes On Defense: Smith’s looking confident. Maybe too much so. He uses drop passes at every opportunity and is probably going to look like a moron when one of those gets picked off in the NHL whenever he gets a game in.

Commodore did some good work recovering with smart poke-checks on some drills.

Jonathan Ericsson looked serious, but still sent pucks into skates on breakout drills. He did a lot of yelling instructions, too.

During the scrimmage, Ian White looked pretty good. He has a shot that should fit well with the team’s net front guys and seemed to do fairly well with Lidstrom. He’s pretty small, like Rafalski, but has a different build. He’s obviously not as good a skater. If he can be coached to change his game some, he could fit in well.

Datsyuk: It was a little strange to see him in #24, because I kept wondering where #13 was when his linemates were out there, but he looked good. As I said before, guys of his caliber seem to hold back a bit in these things, but he did have an element of trying to one-up Zetterberg. It wasn’t in a seriously, game-time way, though. Contrast that with the young guys, who were obviously working much harder to impress, which led to a marked difference in intensity. Even with that, though, when the main team’s lines were on the ice, there was a big difference in quality of play, as you’d expect. When it was the kids, there was a lot more clump skating.

Brunnstrom: Definitely tried to stand out, and earned a goal in the scrimmage. I wasn’t blown away by him.

Tomas Jurco: Really impressed me with his use of his size and just the fact that he looked a step ahead of everyone else in his tier on the ice. I’m looking forward to watching him develop and fill out. He could shoot a little more, but he’s got the ability to cut through a defense and make a play, as well as the size to shrug off defenders. He also looks distractingly like Valtteri Filppula, so I kept confusing the two.

Eaves: Looked pretty good in his new role, though I doubt it’ll last.

Franzen: Seeing him in person and around other players and you really get why Yzerman had that initial reaction to the guy. He’s big. He didn’t do a ton in the scrimmage, except scare me when he went off hunched over and grimmacing. I think he may have just been out of breath, though.

Interesting Turn in the Hudler Saga

George with the latest. Very interesting. Not sure how much of a stink the KHL could rationally throw up given his team shed him (didn’t trade him), but when is the KHL ever rational? If he does manage to make it through the red tape back to the Wings’ roster, though, the off-season gets a lot more interesting.

Hudler’s Season’s Over, So It’s Time for an Update

Update (3:05 PM): Er, pulled a little more of the Freep piece than I meant to. Fixed. – Matt

I guess Hudler’s team losing out of the KHL playoffs gives the media an excuse to talk about him again. Nothing terribly new here, but I like the hilarious reminder of how blissfully unaware of the business side of hockey Jiri is:

“His agent tells me he has a two-year contract, but it includes an option to get out after the first year,” Holland said Monday. “I asked Jiri about it a month ago, and he said he doesn’t know if he has that out clause or not….