Jokinen clears waivers
Lightning center Jussi Jokinen, zero goals in 15 games, cleared waivers , and will be in the lineup tonight against the Thrashers in Atlanta. GM Brian Lawton said the team has no intention right now of sending Jokinen to the minors. He said the move to put him on waivers was a "wake-up call" to a player who has been underperforming.
"And we'll see how he responds," Lawton said.
"It's a new position for me. It's not fun," Jokinen said. "But it happens. I have to take it the right way, use it like a wake-up call. I haven't played good."
Jokinen has six goals but has just two assists in his past 15 games, and coach Rick Tocchet confirmed Jokinen's knees have been bothersome, though he did not realize how much until Jokinen took a couple days off from practice this week. Still, Lawton said he wants to see a better overall effort. Tocchet spoke of Jokinen being soft on the puck and committing numerous turnovers. he also mentioned Jokinen has had plenty of chances to snap out of the slump as his minutes have not wavered much from the 16:43 he is averaging, though he played only 11-plus minutes Thursday against the Avalanche.
"He knows he's playing bad," Tocchet said. "He's got to pick up his game. ... It comes to a point I can't keep putting him out there if he's not going to produce."
Other stuff from this morning: Mike Smith gets the start in goal. He has a 0.96 goals-against average and a .970 save percentage in his past two games yet is 0-1-1. ... Tocchet said Steven Stamkos getting just 9:15 of ice time against Colorado and fewer than two minutes in the third period was a result of a a little lack of focus on Stamkos' part and that others were playing better. "Stammer is a young guy," Tocchet said. "He has to be ready to play from the start. We need his enthusiasm. Sometimes he's a slow starter. he even mentioned to me he's waiting to see how the game is going to dictate. We need him to be dictating the play." ... Nothing certain but it appears right wing Evgeny Artyukhin will be scratched for the second straight game. ... Center Jeff Halpern said he had no ill effects from his first game of the season in which he played 17:36. "Not with my knee," Halpern said. "Just body soreness." ... Defenseman Andrej Meszaros said he did not mind losing the A as an alternate captain to Halpern. "Not at all," he said. "I understood. I'm still a young guy and Halpy is very experienced.It was an honor for me to have it, but it was obvious they were going to give it to an older guy. Maybe in the future."