I don't know if anybody else heard it yesterday... a loud and resonant “WTF???"(Why the face?) emanating from the general Flames fan-wagon. I heard it echo from my living room moments after passing my lips also, but the more I think about it, the more I agree with the move. Sure, Olli Jokinen was overpaid and “underperformed” last year for the Flames, and I still wouldn’t pay him $5M to suit up. However, I disagree with the fact that this guy is anything but a hard working player that had a bad year adjusting to the increased pressure of playing in a big hockey market. The guy played unsuccessfully in LA and New York before breaking out in his third season in Florida and Phoenix before Calgary. I don’t imagine there were too many days that he was on the front page of the sports section in any of those cities unless he won a moustache contest. Over his NHL career he has averaged the equivalent of 52 points per full season played. How many did he get last year? 50. I don’t see an issue paying a guy $3M to pot 50 points. In fact we’re under paying when you think about Marion Hossa. He finished with 52 regular season points on some nobody team last year.
I think that there is a difference between players getting traded and signing as a free agent. I’ve obviously never been in their shoes, but I’d imagine it is similar to the difference between being told you’re going to do something and deciding to do it yourself. I’m sure that Darryl and him had a long conversation about what to expect in Calgary this year and if he takes ownership of that role and concentrates on doing the best that he can regardless of what the fans here think his best is I think we’ll be surprised at what a good deal this was.
I’m never going to be in charge of the Flames, and all I can do is what I’ve done every year since I was old enough to know the difference. I’m going to cheer for the Flames, and every player on that team to do their best for our city and if that takes us to June in the finals or May on the golf course I will enjoy watching and raising my flag for these guys. I say we should grab a hold of that handlebar ‘stache and ride this guy to the Stanley Cup. We’ve got him now whether we like it or not, and although I totally accept that everyone is allowed an opinion, I also think there are going to be a lot of people eating crow in 10 months time.
I also look forward to seeing a hockey player with enough cojones to wear a turtleneck on the ice and in his honor will be cheering for there to be at least one ‘guay in the World Cup final. TANGUAY!