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Hudler Holding Fond Memories of His Red Wings Days

Jiri Hudler spoke fondly of his time with the Detroit Red Wings

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Jiri Hudler, ex-Detroit Red Wings
Jiri Hudler won a Stanley Cup with the 2007-08 Red Wings.

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler is working for Czech TV as an analyst on the IIHF World Championship games. He took time while watching Czechia advance to Saturday’s semifinal against Canada to look back fondly upon hios days in Detroit.

Hudler was a member of Detroit’s most recent Stanley Cup-winning team in 2007-08. One of his teammates, Valtteri Filppula, is captaining Finland at the worlds. The Finns play the USA in Saturday’s other semifinal.

Back in North America, another member of the 2007-08 Red Wings player, Darren Helm, scored the goal that would move the Colorado Avalanche into the Stanley Cup final four for the first time since 2002.

Yes, Hudler is noting, that 2007-08 Red Wings squad was quite the club. They might not be treasured as fondlly as the Hall of Fame loaded roster of the 2001-02 Detroit champs, or the back-to-back winners in 1996-97 and 1997-98. For Hudler, though, they will always be dear to his heart, because they were his championship squad.

“It was one superstar in Detroit, next to another,” Hudler told iSport.cz. “I was lucky enough to play in Detroit with Henrik Zetterberg, Johan FranzĂ©n or Pavel Datsyuk. Even in the position of defender, here we played Nicklas Lidström.

“They took turns there, they were world-class superstars, all like each other. It was a pleasure to play with them, really.”

Hudler Holds Special Fondness For Holmstrom

Hurdler ended up serving two stints with the Red Wings. He was there from 2003-09. Then, after playing a year with Moscow Dynamo of the KHL in 2009-10, he returned to Detroit from 2010-12.

Twice Hudler wound up finishing a Red Wings season with more than 20 goals. Even though he stood only 5-foot-10 and weighed 190 pounds, Hudler sometimes found himself working net front on the power play.

The punishment he took in that role allowed him to garner tremendous respect for Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom, both of whom thrived in that role.

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“In front of that goal, it’s so different,” Hudler explained. “I had the chance of being able to watch Thomas Holmström in Detroit, who was the best in the world at working in front of the goal. Every training session he worked on it. He knew where every puck went.

“Then Johan FranzĂ©n played it and they were big boys. I’m not that big. The goalkeepers had an advantage with me, they could watch over me.”

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