::UPDATE:: (2:10 PM) It has been brought to my attention via Twitter that the center alignment of our posts is not popular. Because I am a man of ALL the people, not just the ones with the Twitter, please share your vote for left alignment or center alignment in the comments. :::
Jiri Hudler, on his goal total: "One is better than zero." Indeed it is, Huds.
Weird times, we live in. On November 16, 2010, the day that we're not supposed to say goodbye to the Chief, (Smooth sailing, bitch), the most divisive issue wedging its way between the Red Wing faithful is not Todd Bertuzzi. He's not even 2nd on that list (Osgood), or 3rd (Ericsson; that is, if there are any of you out there -- *raises hand* -- who don't entirely hate him), or 4th (Aftermath of Prodano/Nodano). Bert doesn't even make the top 5 anymore, because you have to put "Dan Cleary's attractiveness" somewhere on that list. As a happily girlfriended man I'm not being petty here, I'm just genuinely confused: You women find DAN CLEARY to be an attractive dude? What is it? His Mr. Magoo-like penchant for catastrophe? The creepy "All I need is 45 seconds and a windowless van" stare? Todd Bertuzzi is so un-divisive now that I just used his name three times in a paragraph without even thinking. A deeper examination and possible apology post is coming in the near future.
#1, without question, is Jiri. You love him or hate him. As cliched as that sounds, it is fact. You either love what he brings to the table or you want to see him float slowly on a balloon raft straight into the Sun.
I've made no attempt to hide that I really like the guy. And more than Huds, I like and trust what Mike Babcock thinks. More from that first link:
Babs and Ken Holland both have this guy's back. It would be HIGHLY hypocritical of me to question your undying devotion to those two when I was so anti-Bertuzzi last year that I wrote this -- and by the end, actually half-believed it. You can question their judgment all you want, it's what we do as sports fans. It's a rite of winter, or something.
I, however, have just about given up on doing that. Not only do I like Huds as a locker room/chemistry guy, he actually has a track record of producing points. Before fleeing to Russia, he was doing that at a higher per-minute clip than most players in the entire league. As Babs said, playing a year of hockey with the difficulty level set to Rookie and then coming back to the NHL is tough, and it's really not that unbelievable that Huds is off to such a slow start. But, yes, there's the KHL thing; there will always be a portion of Wings fans who will root for his relegation to the press box or outright removal because he didn't cut his paycheck in half to play for your life-long favorite team. And where you see a guy not trying, I see a guy trying to do too much, a guy thinking too much and a guy who desperately wants to fit into the 12-man Red Wings forward puzzle again. You're entitled to have your perspective and I won't judge you for it, so long as you let me be happy cheering Happy. I like him. I like his game, I like his goofiness, and most of all, I like his weird egg-shaped head.