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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.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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