During the beginning of the NHL season, many were questioning and doubting Jiri Hudler's ability to bring anything on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings. This was the year that he had to prove himself, especially with the added pressure upon him to perform better than last.
He was due for a breakout year for the 2009-10 season, but instead headed overseas to Russia and signed a contract with the HC Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. During his time with them, he received one point per game resulting in 54 points in 54 games.
When he returned to the Wings, he was welcomed back with high expectations. However during that year, he didn't even reach them. He wasn't even close.
Hudler trained hard in the offseason before the 2011-12 season. He trained to make sure that this year would be his year.
He got off to a fast start last October. In the first four games, he scored two goals and two assists. Yet his hard participation on the ice simmered down, and the critics came in stating that he was not performing as well as he should be.
It didn't help when he suffered through illnesses and injuries in the middle of the first half. He would go nearly two months without a goal.
In the beginning of December, Hudler found his mojo. In the recent 23 games he has played in—between December to middle of January—he's scored 11 goals and record six assists. As of now, Hudler stands with 13 goals and 16 assists.
Hudler had a career year in the 2008-09 season where he finished with 23 goals and 34 assists.
With Hudler really finding chemistry on the line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula, he will end up on the path to surpass his career-year record. They've been dominating play as they headed into this new year.
Jiri Hudler may have just found reason to finally have a great rebound year.