-- He's been retired since 1999, but No. 99 is still piling up the assists.
Center - CGY
GOALS: 13 | ASST: 27 | PTS: 40
SOG: 148 | +/-: -1
Mired in a 15-game scoreless drought, Olli Jokinen
turned to a piece of advice bestowed upon him by Wayne Gretzky
during his tenure as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes
Jokinen was mired in a slump during the 2008-09 season when the Great One told him to get a little greasy.
"In Phoenix, I think I went 10, 11 games without a goal and he pulled me into a meeting and said ‘Hey, you take everything pretty seriously and you work out and your preparation is pretty good so maybe you should let it go a little bit and go have a burger and relax and maybe you'll get out of the slump'," Jokinen said.
"If the Great One tells you to go have a burger, you'd better go and do it, you know."
It worked then for Jokinen. It worked now, too.
Jokinen's first-period goal in Calgary's 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks
was his first of 2012, snapping the lengthy scoring drought and putting the Flames back in the win column after they had dropped three in a row at Scotiabank Saddledome.
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He didn't hesitate to credit a Big Mac from McDonalds as his source of scoring inspiration. Apparently all Jokinen needs to regain his scoring touch is two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
"(Thursday) I was thinking, maybe it's time," said Jokinen, who has 13 goals and 40 points in 52 games this season. "It's been a while since I scored. It was the first goal for me in 2012. Sometimes it works."
Flames captain Jarome Iginla
endorsed Jokinen's eating habits, just as long as it produces similar results.
"What do people say? If the fire's burning hot enough, you can put anything in there right? The furnace burns hot enough," Iginla said.
"Whatever works as fuel. All our bodies are different. I hope he eats another one."
Iginla shouldn't hold his breath.
Burgers aren't about to wind up in the pre-game regimen of the Finnish forward, who admitted that Thursday's trip to the Golden Arches was his first in more than two years.
"You can't eat a Big Mac meal before every game," Jokinen said. "It wasn't that good, a little upset stomach, but it's all good. Whatever it takes. You've got to suck it up and eat it. I did it for the team. It's all about the team."
But he didn't completely rule it out. With the Flames embarking on an important three-game road trip through Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix, wins are at a premium in the Western Conference. Hoping to put Calgary in a playoff position, it could mean Jokinen is forced to choke down another burger before Monday's game.
"Maybe I'll have to find a McDonalds in Anaheim," he said.