Hudler set to return to Flames’ lineup after missing seven games

 

Veteran will be a key figure in local NHL squad’s mission to finish season strong

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames centre Jiri Hudler will give the local squad a much needed veteran presence as they head into Friday’s game vs. Nashville.
 

Calgary Flames centre Jiri Hudler will give the local squad a much needed veteran presence as they head into Friday’s game vs. Nashville.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

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Defenceman Dennis Wideman, divulged Bob Hartley on Thursday, “is shut down right now. It doesn’t very good for Wides until the end of the season.”

Winger David Jones could play a couple before the curtain drops on April 13th.

Rookie Markus Granlund has a chance to get in a few more than that.

On a positive note, goaltender Karri Ramo is healthy again but won’t be dressing Friday, which means Joey MacDonald sticks around for a least another day.

The most encouraging injury news to emerge for the Calgary Flames?

Jiri Hudler’s lower body injury (read: groin) that’s kept him out of the last seven games has healed up. So the team’s leading scorer at 44 points returns this evening against Nashville. He practised Thursday on a line with Matt Stajan and Curtis Glencross.

The slick Czech winger was hurt tumbling awkwardly into the Scotiabank Saddledome boards during a game against the Ottawa Senators on March 5th.

“Did I?” teased Hudler, when informed that he looked pretty good during Thursday’s workout.

“I feel good. I think I’m in tomorrow. So it’s good to be back. I skated with Bob the last couple days. It wasn’t fun but it helped to get me back quicker. I don’t think I’ve lost condition. I’ve been working out.

“We’re out of playoffs right now. So it’s hard, these last 13 games. There’s a lot of guys trying to do things right, so we’ve gotta finish strong.”

He shrugged off the significance of continuing a fine personal season that has seen him put up the highest points-per-game number of his NHL career.

“I thought we were gonna be a playoff team,” he said. “That was the plan.”

For Hartley, getting Hudler back on the ice is a boon as the coach endeavours to keep his group pushing through the final stages of another non-playoff season. His group certainly hasn’t lacked for belief or effort. What it has lacked, though, is that decisive moment of technical class that a Hudler can provide.

“That’s what we’re seeing from our injured guys,” said the boss. “They want to get back. To see a Jiri Hudler . . . I skated two or three days ago with him, alone in the morning. He worked unbelievably hard. I could feel that he wanted to play. Then the medical staff cleared him. At this time of the year, for a team out of the playoffs it would be so easy for veterans to tell the medical staff ‘Ahhhhh, I’m not quite ready . . .’ and just unplug.

“We don’t see this. And that’s a credit to our players.”

ICE CHIPS . . . Nashville defenceman Shea Weber is still one of the league’s top point-producing defenceman with 31 points (nine goals and 22 assists) in 39 games since Dec. 12 . . . He surpassed the 40-point mark for the fifth consecutive full season . . . Nashville has the youngest defence corps in the NHL (24.02 years) . . . The Preds have not allowed a short-handed goal since March 21, 2013 vs. Calgary (which scored two short-handed) — a span of 87 games — and is the only team in the NHL to have not allowed a short-handed goal this season.

gjohnson@calgaryherald.com

Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames centre Jiri Hudler will give the local squad a much needed veteran presence as they head into Friday’s game vs. Nashville.
 

Calgary Flames centre Jiri Hudler will give the local squad a much needed veteran presence as they head into Friday’s game vs. Nashville.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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