Best of the Decade: Jussi Jokinen

I figured we should start with Mr. Shootout, Jussi Jokinen.  Since the shootout is no longer our thing, we’ve one a total of TWO shootouts this season, with three times as many losses.  It’s fitting to start with Juicy.

Let’s flash back to the 2005-2006 season.

It was the first season after the lockout, and there were some changes, the shootout the most dramatic of those.  Well, with the shootout came this little rookie called Jussi Jokinen.

Then the Stars took place in the first shootout in franchise history on November 5, 2005.  The great Sergei Zubov scored the first goal of the SO.  Then out came this little-known rookie named Jussi Jokinen.  Surprisingly enough, he scored.

Little did we Stars fans know that it was the beginning of something great.

Jussi scored goal after goal in the shootout until he was finally stopped by the Sharks’ Vesa Toskala.  By that point, he’d scored nine shootout goals in a row, which is still an NHL record.

His fifth shootout goal was a thing of beauty.  It’s still regarded as one of the best shootout goals in the event’s four-year history.  I’ll be honest:  I occasionally google it on YouTube just to watch it.

But the shootout isn’t all that Juicy had.  He was a solid offensive player as well.  I loved the night he had four goals:

He was my favorite player until the trade that brought my new favorite player to Dallas.  I was initially heartbroken to hear that Jussi had been traded.  I almost cried.  However, I realized that Brad Richards was a really good player, so I accepted him, and now he’s my favorite.

Juicy’s Lightning days were no fun at all for me to follow.  He struggled and was put on waivers twice.  He was eventually traded to Carolina, where he flourished in the 2009 playoffs.  He got one of the best nicknames ever: The Finnish-er.  😛

With that came one of the wildest playoff runs I’ve ever seen.  The Hurricanes soon got the nickname, the “Cardiac Canes” all thanks to Juicy.

The second-half of this decade wouldn’t be as intense without Juicy.  Just sayin’…

Jussi Jokinen, Shootout Assassin (Dallas Star, 2005-2008)

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