Jokinen signing 'positive'
Flames GM deflects criticism
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
|Darryl Sutter says he has received nothing but support after bringing back Olli Jokinen to Calgary. (QMI Agency/Darren Makowichuk)
A million people can be wrong.
At least that appears to be Darryl Sutter's belief.
A day after his decision to re-acquire Olli Jokinen, the Flames GM was asked about the negative reaction the move has received.
“It’s been really, really positive, all I’ve had,” Sutter said Friday morning, the first time he’d spoken to the media after bringing back Jokinen as well as Alex Tanguay on Canada Day.
Naturally, the next question was from whom he’d received positive reinforcement.
“From people who are important,” he shot back.
Such as season-ticket holders?
“Including them. Especially them,” Sutter said.
That’s curious, since all media outlets were barraged with negative comments because Jokinen’s first tour of duty, nearly a full season, was nowhere near expectations.
“We feel quite honestly it did work,” Sutter said. “It was probably not getting that other position player such as Alex. Like I said, they tie together.”
Jokinen signed a two-year, US$6-million contract, returning to the team which had traded for him in March 2009 and dealt him away 11 months later — for the now-departed Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik.
In 75 games for Calgary, Jokinen collected 19 goals and 50 points.
“When we traded him (away), we said if we could get him for a number that worked for us, we’d pursue it again,” Sutter said. “We really missed him. The biggest gap in our lineup after we traded him was size and speed up the middle. From a point production standpoint, his assists were where you want him to be. His goal scoring wasn’t.
“We feel with Tanguay ... it will.”
The Flames also officially announced signing forwards Raitis Ivanans and Tim Jackman to two-year deals Friday.
Sutter also said the decision to sign Jokinen was made by the fact veteran centre Daymond Langkow is only “60%” healed from the neck injury suffered late in the season.
“I know we’re 100 days away (from training camp), but it is a concern,” Sutter said.