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Dissecting the Shootout with Jussi Jokinen

Wednesday, 01.4.2012 / 2:40 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Dissecting the Shootout with Jussi Jokinen
Jussi Jokinen isn’t exactly a secret weapon in the shootout for the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s more of just a weapon.

Michael Smith
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Jokinen is known for his shootout prowess, dating back to his rookie campaign in the National Hockey League in 2005-06, the season the shootout was introduced. Since then, he’s scored the most shootout goals of any active skater with 29. He has a 46 percent success rate, among the best conversion percentages in the league.

He also scored the Hurricanes’ lone shootout goal on Tuesday night, his first in three tries this season. He did so in dramatic fashion, pulling out his signature one-handed move he used quite a bit in his early days with Dallas.

“I know him just from his past, especially when he first started,” head coach Kirk Muller said of Jokinen. “I’ve always believed that the guy that you feel is your strongest, put him in first so you’re definitely able to use him. So, he was a no brainer for me to start it off.”

In his rookie season with the Dallas Stars, Jokinen converted 10-of-13 (76.9 percent) in the shootout, which ranked Jokinen first in the league in goals and conversion rate.

“That was my first year in the league after the lockout,” Jokinen said. “Two years before that in Finland, they had the same rule – the shootout. So, I was already familiar with it.”

In Finland, though, Jokinen wasn’t as lethal in the shootout as he wanted to be. He also sprung a number of breakaways using a similar power play breakout scheme as the Hurricanes do now. But he wasn’t scoring on those as much as he’d like.

So, he practiced.

“I started to work on my shootout moves a little bit more, the low blocker and the one-handed move,” he said. “I still spend time over the summer practicing those moves and some new ones.”

The low blocker shot Jokinen has utilized a lot as of late started off as just that – a shot. He then tweaked it a little.

“After a couple of years I changed it where I come in and stop, but still do the same move,” he said. “That’s my favorite move, but you can’t use it every time.

“Now, lots of guys in the league are trying that same move because if you can get that shot in the right spot – over the pad and under the blocker – it’s really tough to stop, if you ask any goalie.”

Success in the shootout requires more than a couple signature dekes. It’s also a matter of considering the opposing goaltender, Jokinen said.

“What I did lots in my first two years, before every shootout, I talked to whoever our backup goalie was,” he said. “It was usually Johan Hedberg. So, I’d talk with him about what I think I’m going to do and his thoughts. And that really helped me.”

It’s a strategy Jokinen hasn’t strayed away from, even seven years later. Jokinen chatted with Justin Peters before scoring his goal Tuesday night.

“I talked with Petey a little last night to see what he thought,” he said. “I said ‘I’m going to try the one-handed move.’ He said ‘Yeah, just make sure you pull it long enough with your forehand and come in with enough speed.’ That helps when you can get something from the goalie who maybe knows what the other goalie thinks. It’s a mental thing now.”

Jokinen finished just 2-of-10 last season in the shootout, what he called a “rough” finish, especially compared to his numbers in his first few years. He said he hoped Tuesday night’s shootout goal will give him confidence in the skills competition and in the game, as well. Jokinen hasn’t recorded a goal since November 20, but he leads the team in assists with 18.

With his history and statistics, Jokinen knows he will be called upon when the Canes reach the shootout. Opposing goaltenders are well aware of this, too. But that’s all a part of the fun, the chess match on the ice.

“Right now, it’s so much more of a mental battle,” he said.” Goalies know the moves, and you just have to out-think them. It’s fun. I enjoy that.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81