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Jokinen Snub Surprising

Wednesday, 12.30.2009 / 8:56 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Jokinen Snub Surprising
On a day where Hurricanes Joni Pitkanen and Tuomo Ruutu were both selected to play in the Olympics, it’s unfortunate that most of the attention will be turned to countryman Jussi Jokinen’s surprising snub from Team Finland.

Paul Branecky
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Not to steal any thunder from the two very-deserving players that will represent Carolina at the 2010 winter games, but they were widely expected to make the team. Therein lies the problem – so was Jokinen.

The omission is an eyebrow-raiser for several reasons. First, he’s such a versatile player that it’s difficult to imagine how he would have trouble fitting in to any setup at any forward position. If he were strictly a center and the Finns felt they had four who were better, that would be one thing. But do they have 13 forwards who are more deserving of a spot? That is questionable with the inclusion of two players in Ville Peltonen and Jarko Immonen who are not currently playing in the NHL, although they have in the past. When also considering that Jokinen can play on both areas of special teams, the whole thing is a little baffling.

Second, each and every game in the Olympic competition is subject to a shootout, following an overtime period of five, 10 or 20 minutes, depending on the stage of the tournament (somewhat complicated tournament rules can be found here). Whether it’s picking up points in the preliminary round or facing elimination in the playoffs, can Finland really afford to leave arguably the best shootout man in the world at home? The team’s organizers will certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.

Finland has also undoubtedly irked two of its core players in Ruutu and Pitkanen, who surely thought their Carolina teammate would be accompanying them to Vancouver. That may not be much of a factor once the puck drops, but it’s at least worth noting.

So, how could it happen? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, and guesses will be rampant due to the sometimes political nature of the selection process for national teams. Perhaps Jokinen will have some insight on that at today’s practice – we’ll have updates on that, on the two selected Finns and hopefully some good news about Eric Staal’s participation on Team Canada around noon.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60