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Hudler honoured by Lady Byng nomination

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- During his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Hudler saw the caliber of player that wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

His long-time teammate Pavel Datsyuk won the award four times in a row -- spanning from the 2005-06 season to the 2008-09 campaign -- for having exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability throughout the regular season.

Seeing Datsyuk thrive while playing an honest, hard-working game with respect for his opponents helped mold Hudler into the player he is today and now, the 31-year-old has earned himself a nomination for the 2014-15 Lady Byng Trophy.

"I’m honoured to be nominated for this award," Hudler said. "I appreciate the voters selecting me as a candidate. I was privileged to play with Pavel Datsyuk who won this award many times.

"It’s truly an honour to have my name even just mentioned alongside such great players."

Anze Kopitar and Datsyuk are the other finalists for the award.

Jiri Hudler
Center  - CGY
Goals: 31 | Assists: 45 | Pts: 76
Shots: 158 | +/-: 17| PIM: 14

Through 78 games this season, Hudler led the Flames with 31 goals and 76 points and was only dinged with just seven minor penalties -- the fewest among the League's top 20 scorers.

In addition to his on-ice success, Hudler took on more of a leadership role in the Flames locker room, mentoring younger players and aiding in linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan's development.

"I think that Jiri has been unbelievable for us," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said earlier this year. "Off the ice, unfortunately the fans cannot see this but on the ice he's been great. Off the ice he's been a great big brother for all our young players. He's on the bench, he's vocal. He's been great for us."

When asked about Hudler's influence on his season, Monahan raved about the veteran's work with he and Monahan on and off the ice.

"He makes you want to be better. He can be tough on you and tell you things but that's part of being a veteran and trying to help younger guys be better players. He's done a great job with us off the ice communicating stuff like that.

"That's really helped both Johnny and I."

Hudler could become the second player in Flames history to win the trophy. Joe Mullen was a two-time winner taking home the honour in 1986 and again in 1989.

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is named in honour of Marie Evelyn Moreton, wife of Viscount Byng -- a Vimy Ridge war hero who and Governor General of Canada from 1921 to 1926.

Last year's winner was Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Rielly, who took one minor penalty and was third in team scoring with 28 goals and 64 points in 80 games.

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