Olli Jokinen

Report: Calgary source denies Jokinen played with “significant” injury

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Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reports an interesting development between the Flames and center Olli Jokinen.

According to a source “inside the dressing room”, there are questions being raised about comments from Jokinen’s agent, Ian Pulver — namely, that Jokinen played the final three weeks of the regular season with a serious injury.

“He has played with some significant mid-body injuries to try doing the best he could for the team,” Pulver stated. “Olli is somewhat of an iron man. He hasn’t missed a game and he should be applauded.”

Yet, according to Francis…

A source inside the dressing room, familiar with Jokinen’s ailment, says an MRI showed a mild abdominal strain.

“It’s not something that hindered his play,” said the source.

“Guys play through stuff far worse than that this time of year. Talk that it’s much worse is just an excuse.”

After a stellar middle portion of the season — Jokinen had 37 points in 40 games from December through February — the 33-year-old Finn struggled in March, which coincided with the collapse of Calgary’s playoff push. Jokinen is minus-14 in his last 10 games, scoring just two goals with zero assists, while the club lost eight times and missed the postseason for the third consecutive year.

It should be noted that Jokinen hasn’t used injury as an excuse for his play. He’s also refused to answer questions about it.

But the late-season collapse, combined with this latest development, has cast doubt on whether Calgary will bring him back. An impending UFA, Jokinen has had a great year statistically (23G-38A-61PTS) and at times has been called the Flames’ best player…but he’s likely to want a raise from his last deal (which paid $3 million annually) and could get it on the open market, given the lack of quality centers available.

Your move, Jay Feaster.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)