DETROIT – All Jiri Hudler wants for Christmas is to put the scoring drought behind him.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, Hudler had just one goal and five assists in 27 games.
“I’ve got one goal,” Hudler said after the team’s option morning skate. “I’ve got to do something. There’s no other way around it. I need to find a way to find the net. At this point I feel I can do it. I’ve done it before.”
Hudler’s lone goal came on Nov. 13 against Colorado.
And it was an odd one.
After just leaving the penalty box, Hudler got his own rebound off a shot on Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj behind the net and then banked his next shot off Budaj’s skate.
“You can work hours and hours on your shot in practice, but it’s still not the same thing,” said Johan Franzen, who entered play tied for the team lead with 14 goals. “You come down on a goalie in a game and you have no confidence it doesn’t matter how much you practice it’s still not going to go in.
“You just need to go to the net, pick up a rebound and shoot it into the open net,” Franzen added. “Once you get one you get another one and you start to build your confidence up again.”
Because of lack of production, Hudler has found himself as a healthy scratch in two of the Wings’ last five games.
He was back last night against Vancouver, replacing Kris Draper.
“It doesn’t help,” Hudler said. “It doesn’t matter if you score 30 goals or you score zero, nobody wants to be out of the lineup. I’ve got to deal with it and be mentally strong.”
Hudler doesn’t feel his one year over in Russia has caused him to have to readjust to the Wings’ style of play.
“I don’t feel I’ve got a problem,” Hudler said. “But if you look at my stats you’re going to think what’s going on here.
“Honestly, I do think that sometimes, what is going on,” Hudler added. “I’m trying to take advantage of it.”
He left after having career highs in goals (23) and assists (34).
“You want to stop thinking about it, that’s how I am when I go a lot of games without a goal,” Franzen said. “I focus on other stuff, like working hard out there instead.
“We know he really wants to score,” Franzen added. “It’s going to turn around. It’s only a matter of time.”
“Everybody is saying, just don’t think about it and go out there and play,” Hudler said. “There’s a lot of ways to think about that. You just have to stay positive and stay with it.”
In 54 games last year with the Moscow Dynamo of the KHL, Hudler had 54 points.
The Wings took Hudler back after his one season in Russia and penciled the forward in for a 70-point season.
“This isn’t a slump, this is desperation,” Hudler said.