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CONSISTENCY IS KEY FOR JOKINEN

Sunday, 09.28.2008 / 9:00 PM / Features
By Russell Brooks
Consistency, durability and stamina are valuable traits for an NHL player to have, and Coyotes center Olli Jokinen possesses all of them. His stats attest to that.

Known as one of the league’s “Iron Men,” Jokinen has played in 82 NHL regular-season games over the past four seasons and he has played in at least 78 NHL games per season since 1999-2000.

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“I try to raise the bar year after year,” said Jokinen, whom the Coyotes acquired in the off-season from the Florida Panthers. “I think it’s the work I do every day. I have been lucky to not break any bones, but I think that’s due to a lot of what you do off the ice and how you treat your body.”

Jokinen keeps busy in the off-season. Staying in shape, physically and mentally, is a priority.

“After the season ends, I start working out,” Jokinen said. “I tried something a little different this off-season and did boxing and mixed martial arts. It’s a little different kind of workout, but you get into great shape and stay focused.”

In his last five seasons with the Panthers, Jokinen’s contributions were extremely reliable. In all five seasons, he notched at least 26 goals and 58 points. Staying healthy and in the lineup keyed that consistency.

“When I was young, I used to laugh at the guys when they were doing bike rides, stretching, and all that stuff, and now I am one of those guys,” said Jokinen, who looked up to players such as Luc Robitaille, Ray Ferraro and Rob Blake when he was playing in Los Angeles. “When you get older, you have to put extra work in. If you do that, you will stay healthy.”

On a team loaded with young players still establishing mind-sets and routines, Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky is glad he doesn’t have to worry about his top-line center.

“Jokinen is quiet, shows up for work, puts in his effort and works extremely hard,” Gretzky said.

That approach has served him well.

Photo by Norm Hall/Phoenix Coyotes.
 
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