They are starting to dot the stands at RBC Arena in Raleigh like dandelions on a spring lawn, makeshift Carolina Hurricanes jerseys with the No. 36 on the back.
This is hockey's Jussi Couture.
Along with the standard-issue
When the Hurricanes picked him up in a Feb. 7 trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the Lightning already had waived him twice at this point -- the hockey world hardly blinked. The J in his names is pronounced like a Y, as in "yawn." Although Jokinen had scored eight power-play goals as a rookie in Dallas in 2005-06, he still was widely considered a one-trick shootout pony with a nifty one-handed dangle move. He wasn't about to change the balance of power in the Southeast Division, let alone the NHL.
But since the playoffs began last month, Jokinen, who had only seven goals in the regular season (just one in Carolina), has been channeling his inner
To refresh your memories of some of his biggest goals -- or maybe to introduce you to the Hurricanes, the stealth team of these playoffs -- let's rewind:
Jokinen scored with 0.2 left on in Game 4 against New Jersey (that was the game Devils goalie
"Probably never had this good a stretch," Jokinen said after the game.
This comes after the worst stretch of his career. He was part of the trade to Tampa Bay that sent
But the worst was not behind Jokinen, even if his time Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay was. His father died, at age, 51, in March. He still is unable to speak publicly about the death.
"He deserves this, all that he's doing now," said
Nor did the Bruins just show up in the second round without having done anything. They were dominant in the regular season, easily the best team in the Eastern Conference. They pummeled Montreal in four straight and whipped Carolina, coming off that whirly-gig against the Devils, in the opener. Now that they have dropped three straight, on merit, there is a theory that the Bruins had not been sufficiently battle-tested during the season. Even coach
"The team has picked the worst time of the year to play its worst hockey," Julien said after the game. "Not anybody has played up to [his] potential. Obviously we're out of synch ... You can see the frustration of the players now, and it's getting worse."
Indeed the first period was an abomination. With any puck luck the Bruins might have actually emerged with three goals -- they hit two goalposts and
After the morning skate defenseman
And the Hurricanes also have the player with the smoking stick, Dr. (Double) J.