My computer went kaput last week, so I was unable to follow up on my promise for a bad Olli Jokinen-related headline (it would have been: "The Stars should trade for Olli: I'm not Jokinen!" by the way). For that, I apologize.
So instead, I'll include that Jokinen thought along with another tidbit from the NHL/BoC:
- When I decided to start covering the Stars, I made some harsh jokes at the expense of the Phoenix Coyotes. After watching them take it to the Stars, who happen to be one of the hottest teams in the NHL, I must say: a Battle of the Pacific blog might be more and more worthwhile now.
The Coyotes have more than just Ilya Bryzgalov, although he probably sparked Phoenix's climb to puck relevance. That Mueller kid is another great rookie wearing Lindros's No. 88, Jovocop is having a startling resurgence and Shane Doan has a really cool beard. Plus, Wayne Gretzky seems like he dyes his hair and Rick Tocchet looks like he's going to whack somebody. This team has some definite upside.
Battle of Pacific next year? Just throwin' it out there...
- Since I'm lazy and dumb, I don't really know much about the Stars' cap situation. And a case can be made that Dallas is looking so great right now that it might be foolish to mess with a good thing.
But after watching a startlingly sluggish Detroit Red Wings team on Sunday, it made me feel that much more confident that the Stars should not let current success deter them from making that one extra trade that would make them a Western Conference playoff force.
At first, I thought Mats Sundin would be a great fit and that Michael Ryder could follow in Mike Ribeiro's footsteps and go from struggling Hab talent to burgeoning Dallas Star.
But then I remembered that, of all the teams in the NHL, the Stars might resemble the Finnish Olympic team the most. Not only do they have a crapton of Finns (relatively speaking), they also play that smart, defense-first style that every non-Selanne Finn seems to adhere to.
So, after much deliberation I decided that Olli Jokinen would be the best target for the Stars to snatch up before the trade deadline (again, under the assumption he could fit into their cap and the Panthers would once again decide to foolishly trade their best player).
A quick glance at his statistics indicates that, honestly, there aren't many players on the Stars roster who would be "untouchable" in such a trade (at least straight up). The only guys I'd say "no way" to are probably Marty Turco and Brendan Morrow. But that's more for the Ambassador of Fun to decide.
Depending on who you trade, there are quite a few options for Jokinen linemates. You could opt for the Finning Hair Line (good god I deserve to die for that) of Jere Lehtinen - Olli Jokinen - Jussi Jokinen. You could keep the productive Morrow-Ribeiro combo together and give yourself a nice 1-2 line punch by having Modano or Jokinen move to a wing and form a line together. There's a lot of exciting possibilities.
Jokinen would be a great trade move because of his aforementioned Finn background and his good fit as a power forward. You also cannot look past the fact that Jokinen is wallowing in awful Florida Panther obscurity, and must be hungry to finally play for a good team. Couple that with the Stars growing exasperation over playoff failures and I think you'd have a perfect fit.
Another exciting factor is that Olli Jokinen wears the 'C' in FLA. Just look at the leadership in Dallas, just counting former/current NHL captains: Jokinen, Modano, Morrow, Stu Barnes, Matt Norstrom and Jeff Halpern. That's a lot of leadership for one team.
No one wants to give the Stars credit for this year's amazing success, but put Jokinen on this team and the West better be scared...just throwin' it out there.