Apparently Olli Jokinen landed in Winnipeg after his second stint ended in Calgary this off-season. And now he’s playing with Evander Kane in the Jets top six and has already collected an impressive 0 points in three games played.
As a native Flames fan I have naturally had many years (on more than one occasion) to observe Olli’s foibles as an NHL player and I feel it’s my duty to report to his new fans just what kind of player Jokinen is. To start, I can safely say he’s a bit like the proverbial Frogurt.
Olli’s head and face are comically large and he’s usually wearing a grotesque, alien-ish expression.
Naturally, this is all fertile ground for funny references, cruel nicknames and endless photoshop fun. Observe (be sure to click the link):
By the end of his tenure in Calgary, Olli had collected at least a half dozen unique but highly applicable nicknames (Olli Postagain, CHUD, Sex Panther…). Let’s see what Jets fans can come up with over the next two seasons.
BONUS – Olli can also be hilariously curt and blunt with the media. Combine that with his still thick Finnish accent and his interviews tend to be fairly entertaining, regardless of what he’s talking about.
getting back to Jokinen’s performance on the ice, he unfortunately tends to favor needlessly convoluted routes around the ice. Kinda like those terrible Family Circus cartoons.
So, instead of, say, breaking up the boards when his defenseman has the puck in the defensive zone, Olli will occasionally swoop back towards his own net, behind it, skate around the guy with the puck, change on the fly, hop back on the ice and then swoop back around his own net again. This obviously makes passing to him rather challenging, although it can also serve to confuse the opposition as well as the refs and fans.
Brent Sutter seemed to have mostly broken Jokinen of this idiosyncrasy in Calgary, but now that he’s out of the Gargoylian glare of the erstwhile Flames coach he might just revert back to his bad habits.
Olli can blast the puck. Just hammer it.
The one Olli strength I would always lead with when writing his scouting report is he can rifle the biscuit. He might not always be laser accurate, but both his slapshot and wrist shot are hard and heavy.
His shot is the main reason Jokinen spent a few years in the SE division scoring 30+ goals for the Florida Panthers – he would set up at the sideboards or on the point during the PP and just bomb away all day long. It takes more than that to score 30+ goals in the rest of the NHL (which is why he hasn’t managed the feat since leaving Miami) but it remains perhaps his best, most enduring asset.
Sometimes it looks like Olli is stickhandling a brick with a fly fishing rod when he handles the puck. This is especially true when he winds up in the neutral zone and gets moving towards the offensive end. This, however, doesn’t necessarily deter Jokinen from trying moves at the opposition’s blueline which frequently and frustratingly results in the puck being turned over more than once over the course of a game.
Olli doesn’t have the best on-ice vision either. He’s a skater and shooter first and a passer fourth if you catch my drift. He’ll move the puck if he thinks he has to and/or if the pass is really obvious, but don’t look for him to dish saucers through traffic or find the late man. This general lack of feel and awareness can also result in offensive pressure defused by a puck shot wide or chipped into the skates of a teammate (or the waiting stick of a bad guy).
Although he’s a big dude at 6’3" and 210 pounds, with a bit of room Jokinen can really get moving. Olli doesn’t possess the most fluid stride in the league but he can nevertheless can power himself to an above average velocity which, when combined with his size, can make him difficult to stop in full stride.
Assuming he doesn’t mishandle the puck or pass it two feet behind his winger, of course.
Anyways, Olli’s funny looking and he’s hilarious to listen to and use as a subject in photoshops. He has a few definite strengths as a player (shot, speed) that can be somewhat undermined by his obvious weaknesses (visions, puckhandling, curious decision making). From a coaching perspective, Olli is most useful on the PP since he can sit on the sideboards and unleash his howitzer. Also, ideally you won’t want him to play against the other team’s superstars very often (the Flames did this the last two seasons by the way).
So enjoy Winnipeg!