Olli Jokinen’s first ever NHL suspension has turned out to be something of a doozy.
The Calgary Flames centre was handed a three-game suspension for his cross-check to the head on Phoenix Coyotes forward Wojtek Wolski in Wednesday night’s 3-1 loss.
It will also cost Jokinen US$48,387.09 in salary, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The suspension hadn’t come down while he was available after practice, but based on what he said, that exceeded any expectations he had.
“I can defend myself here all day,” he said. “I went in there, tried to push his arm and hit his shoulder pad, and the stick hit high.
“If you look at the replay over and over, you can see I wasn’t going after his head.
“It happens all the time in a game, but as a player you have to be responsible for your stick.”
Jokinen, who was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct, will miss Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks as well as the first two games on the club’s make-or-break five-game road trip, against the Detroit Red Womgs and the New York Rangers.
The length comes somewhat as a surprise since similar incidents, and from players who have been suspended previously, have resulted in shorter banishments.
“I haven’t been suspended and played nearly 900 games in this league and a couple hundred games internationally,” Jokinen said. “I don’t consider myself a dirty player.”