There are a few things I was pretty sure we could count on as hockey fans: Kyle Wellwood fat jokes continuing to be funny, despite the fact that he’s actually quite fit. Vesa Toskala being the default setting for all comically bad goaltending jokes, despite the fact that he’s…no, no nevermind, he actually is quite bad. And I thought Olli Jokinen being somewhat of a goofy-lookin’ overpaid guy was a lock too.
Not that long ago, he seemed en route to playing himself out of the League.
In 08-09, Olli Jokinen was paid 5.25 million dollars for 57 points in 76 games and his -12 rating. Not great bang for your buck (context: that year Henrik Sedin earned $3.575M for 82 points. Selke winner Ryan Kesler earns less than that per season now). That season Phoenix traded him to Calgary part way through.
In 09-10, he was paid 5.5 million dollars for 50 points in 82 games, and was traded from Calgary to New York part way through that season.
His numbers had declined for three straight seasons, he was a 31-year old unrestricted free agent, and it didn’t look like his game was headed anywhere but south. It was a waiting game to see if anyone would pay him for oh, 40-some points (and no other facet to his game besides offense).
Then out of the blue, Darryl Sutter signed him to a generous deal – six million dollars over two years, and the “jokes” (pronounced “yokes” if you don’t mind) were plentiful from the peanut gallery. After all, that guy is AWFUL, HAHAHAHA.
Right around then we saw the birth of this “Dancing Olli” website. Go ahead and take a look at that, we’ll wait.
…I mean, seriously….the guy was becoming a pretty reliable punchline.
He managed another 54 point, minus-17 ”meh” season last year skating alongside Jarome Iginla, but for three million dollars, you’ll take that. That’s not all bad.
And then this year…what the hell, Olli? Quit ruining our fun.
Last night Jokinen potted a hattrick to help the Flames eek out a big win over the San Jose Sharks, and he added an assist on a nice backhand pass to Iginla to go along with it.
That brings him up to 45 points in 54 games, good enough to crack the first page of NHL.com’s scoring leaders, which displays the top 30 guys. That puts him ahead of his linemate Iginla by one, but also ahead of Marian Gaborik, Vincent Lecavalier, Alexander Ovechkin, Corey Perry, Tyler Seguin, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrick Sharp and….well, I could go on for awhile. He’s 30th in scoring, after all.
Granted, his shooting percentage is a bit higher than usual (11.4%) and his PDO – 1033 - shows he could come back down to earth here at some point (PDO is is a gauge of how lucky a player has been – more on that here), but you just can’t discount his contributions so far.
He has 10 points in his last six games, he’s scoring some legitimately nice goals, and he’s re-established himself as a legitimate threat that teams need to keep an eye on. It’s super annoying, and in my opinion, downright unfair to the rest of us. I DON’T LIKE HAVING TO CHANGE THE WAY I THINK ABOUT PEOPLE.
The good news: he’s still one of the most photoshoppable, gifable NHLers in the League today. And, the fact that he said he used Wayne Gretzky’s slump-busing advice to him (“Go eat a cheeseburger and don’t think about hockey for awhile”), and that he did (a Big Mac) and it apparently worked, has provided us with some new material.
So credit where credit is due: Jokinen’s having a terrific season. Now let’s look at this hilarious gif of him eating a cheeseburger, and learn how to draw him below, courtesy an old Cycle Like the Sedins post:
Ah. That’s more like it.