Don’t think for a second that Charles Hudon doesn’t want to return to the National Hockey League.
“I’m just trying to find myself playing my game. I’m doing my stuff,” Hudon said Wednesday night after scoring a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Belleville Senators at Place Bell. “I don’t want to be selfish, but I don’t want to be here. So I’m doing my stuff. I’m playing well”
“I’m here with the team,” he added. “We’ll see what’s going to happen. But right now, I’m doing my job.”
Wednesday night’s hat trick was the Alma native’s first as a professional hockey player. He now leads the Rocket in goals with eight.
“I’ve never scored one the American Hockey League,” he said. “It felt good to do it.”
An added reason why Wednesday night’s game felt special despite the loss? Hudon got to play in front of his parents, his brother, and wife’s family. He admits that can sometimes add a lot pressure ot perform, but it didn’t seem to have any negative effects.
“People from pretty much everywhere,” Hudon said of those who came to Laval to see him. “Sometimes it’s tough to play in front of everyone. But I’m just trying to play my game.”
Ryan Poehling, who was playing in Laval a night after being sent down by the Canadiens, knows what Hudon is capable of when things are falling his way.
“You get the puck on his stick, he can shoot,” Poehling said. “He’s always worked hard and he’s got a lot of talent. So when you see him succeed like that, it’s all the best for him and the team.”
Head coach Joël Bouchard hasn’t been shy about stating his goals of getting his players ready to play in the NHL, and that includes Hudon. He heaped praise on the winger Wednesday night for being better offensively, and also for his defensive play.
“He’s been doing good for a little bit, but not just on goals,” Bouchard explained. “On execution, on playing the right way. It’s just a matter of him [to] keep going that way. I’m happy where his game is heading.”
“It’s a lot for a guy,” Bouchard continued when discussing Hudon’s situation. “He was in the NHL. Things didn’t work out. He’s coming with us and I’m asking him to change his mindset on a lot of plays. I’ve got to tip my hat to him, I was hard and demanding on him. I put him in the bay window and challenged him. I remember a few weeks ago I told him the next 15 games are critical, and he’s answering it well.”
Will Hudon get his wish of playing in the NHL again sometime soon? Time will tell. But he’s not short on confidence right now.
“I’m shooting the puck,” he said. And he’s putting himself back on the radar of because of it.