So I was talking with a Flames fan. At one point in our conversation he playfully trolled me about how the Flames "stole" Hudler from us, and how his absence will be the end of us. I played along, wink wink, but I slowly realized he was actually semi-serious. Not because he's especially fond of Hudler (though "Happy" has, in fact, been one of the Flames more valuable players), but because of our troubles this season. Shootout woes? Hudler. Goal-scoring woes? Hudler. Second-line center hole? Hudler.
Wouldn't it be something if we miss the playoffs because of our total incompetence in shootouts? Should that come to pass, do we hang the first person who says, "Should've kept Hudler"? Or would he have a point? And, if so, does the universe implode?
I hated Hudler as a Wing. To me, he encapsulated everything that was misguided and wrong about our team. I was glad to see him go. But let's talk about him, knowing full well that Kenny will bring him back, sooner or later.
Do we miss Jiri Hudler?