Olli Jokinen is going to start surfing the web a little more to study his opponents.
And it has nothing to do with the bad luck he is having around the net this season. Nope, Jokinen is going to surf to hockeyfights.com to do some pre-scouting of potential fight partners around the league. Jokinen, you see, was caught a little off-guard in Toronto recently when he tangled with Francois Beauchemin. What Jokinen didn't realize was that Beauchemin is a lefty and the cut below Jokinen's right eye is proof enough.
Flames captain and current Jokinen linemate, Jarome Iginla, suffered the same fate a few years back in the playoffs when Beachemin was playing for the Anaheim Ducks. In fact, Iginla was trying to let Jokinen know to watch out for the left hand bombs as Jokinen prepared to fight Beauchemin.
"But, when you are in that situation, you are kind of in a zone and you don't hear it," said Jokinen.
The 30-year-old Finn, whith more than 800 games in the National Hockey League, is known more for his scoring than his fisticuffs.
"I don't think you guys know this but when I first started in the league I was a third or fourth line guy and I had to fight five or six times a year," he said when asked about fighting.
He pauses, shrugs his shoulders and smiles.
"It's part of the game. I just didn't know he was a lefty. I guess I need to start using that (fighting) website," he chuckled.
Jokinen, who scored 29 goals and had 57 points last season, is still rounding into offensive form this season as the Flames head to Los Angeles Saturday to face the team that drafted Jokinen third overall in the 1997 Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings.
Through 20 games he has three goals, including a hard wrist shot from the slot on Thursday that beat Chicago's Cristobal Huetin a 7-1 loss. Even more encouraging was the fact that he led all players with seven shots, accounting for a quarter of the Flames shots on net.
Jokinen could only shake his head when asked about his troubles finding the back of the net.
"I think seen or eight times I have hit the post," he said. "You just have to work hard as a line and when you get chances you need to bear down."
The Flames are aware that Jokinen needs to produce more offence.
"He just needs to relax, play and enjoy the game a little bit," said head coach Brent Sutter. "He is trying to find his way and he has had some tough times. Everyone looks at his point production but he has done other things well for us. There might be a little cloud over his head. We have to help him through it."
That cloud may have dissipated slightly on Thursday.
"He is competing hard," said Iginla. "He is starting to feel it. I think most players are streaky. He knows he has had some bad starts but he has also had some good middles and good finishes. He usually gets better as the season goes on."
And those fights?
"He is a tough guy," said Iginla. "He battles. He has had his fair share of fights."
Bourque listed as day-to-day
The Flames will be without Rene Bourque on Saturday as they visit the Los Angeles Kings.
Head coach Brent Sutter confirmed Friday morning that Bourque will not travel with the team to Califronia for games against the Kings and Ducks.
The exact injury was not disclosed but Sutter said Bourque is considered day-to-day.
Consecutive losses have ended Calgary's momentum after it went 5-0-1 in the previous six games. A 7-1 defeat to Chicago on Thursday night was particularly tough, and Sutter was angry afterward.
"It's too casual. I don't like it. I am not used to it," the coach said. "Get upset. Get upset with each other."
While it's up the players to take his message to heart, Sutter has to worry about the loss of Bourque. The right wing, who has seven goals and 14 assists, took a hard hit against the Blackhawks and left with an undisclosed injury.
Bourque scored three goals in his last two games against Los Angeles (13-8-2), helping Calgary (12-6-2) sweep last season's four-game series. The Flames outscored the Kings 49-27 in winning 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Did you know...
Calgary Flames forward is one assist away from 450 for his NHL career. Iginla is now 13 assists away from passing Theo Fluery for second spot among Flames all time assist leaders.