Ex-teammate denies Olli tough on young players

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Carcillo was a young teammate of Olli Jokinen and doesn't have a bad word to say about the new Flames centre.

So imagine Carcillo's surprise when he heard comments Jokinen is known for being tough on young players and treating them poorly.

"He was very vocal in the room, but a good leader," Carcillo said yesterday.

"I've got nothing but good things to say about him. He's a good guy, a good teammate. I'd protect him any day.

"He's tough on everyone, but not particularly tough on first-year guys or second-year guys or third-year guys. I'm 24 and it's my second year -- I'd be considered young -- and we got along great. Everybody did.

"I heard those comments, too, but I don't think there's any truth to them."

Two days ago, Carcillo and Jokinen were teammates in Phoenix, and linemates for a spell. Last night, they squared off against each other, Jokinen with the Flames and Carcillo the newest member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

So much for that bond.

"Yeah, he's a Flame now, so if he's got the puck, I'll try to take it off him or separate him from it -- no hard feelings there, Olli," said Carcillo, acquired from the Coyotes at the trade deadline for Scottie Upshall and a second-round draft pick. "I wish him all the best. He deserves to be on a good team, he's a great player and a great guy."

Carcillo isn't the only Flyer with a tie to Jokinen.

Kimmo Timonen comes from the same hometown -- although is a few years older -- but skated on national teams with the centre.

The scouting report Timonen provided was nothing Flames fans hadn't heard: Jokinen is a big, strong, offensive and gritty man in the middle.

"That's pretty much it," Timonen said. "He can score, a really good scorer.

"Great guy, I think, and a good player. He can score from almost anywhere. I'm sure it's good for those guys."

Both were surprised to see how many games Jokinen has played without skating in the NHL playoffs -- 781 after last night's affair -- and glad to see it looks like he'll end that drought in a month.

"I saw that stat on TV -- that's pretty impressive," Carcillo said. "I'm happy for him. They've got a good team."

Carcillo, the NHL's penalty minute leader, may hail from King City, Ont., a satellite city of Toronto, but insisted he grew up a Flyers fan.

"Even living in Toronto, they always attracted me, their play, rough and tough," Carcillo said.

Curiously, Carcillo skated with Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux, two small and skilled skaters.

"I was joking I'm the biggest guy on the line. That's the first time that's happened," he said.


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