When Olli Jokinen signed a new deal this summer with the Winnipeg Jets it was seen as a sneaky, savvy move by the team. After all, they had a glaring need for a play maker and Jokinen picked his game up the last couple of seasons in Calgary.
What we didn’t know was how big of a fan Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was of Jokinen. As NHL.com’s John Kreiser finds out, he has the a very high outlook for the 33 year-old veteran.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to bring a front-line player, a top-six player into the organization,” Cheveldayoff said. “His size comes to the forefront right now; he’s difficult to handle. When he gets moving, he does move very well. He likes to shoot the puck and he’s not afraid to do that.”
Jokinen had 23 goals and 61 points on a line with Jarome Iginla last season. Good work if you can get it. In Winnipeg, you can bet they’ll want him lining up with Evander Kane, provided they can get him re-signed sometime in the near future.
Making the team stronger up the middle, however, was the key for the Jets. With Bryan Little, Alexander Burmistrov, and Nik Antropov they were lacking a true set-up man. That won’t be an issue provided the player we saw the last two seasons shows up and not the guy we saw with the Rangers.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…