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Tampa Bay Lightning's Jokinen says he got "wake-up call''

SUNRISE — LW Jussi Jokinen credits a healthy knee for his recent modest uptick in offensive production, but he readily admits that the Lightning placing him on waivers last week was "a wake-up call."

"Obviously, it's not fun to be on waivers, but I had a couple good conversations with players, and it's good," he said. "They say I'm still a good player and I have to keep doing the things I do. Keep battling through."

Before getting a shootout goal Friday against the Panthers, Jokinen, 25, had just 12 points (six goals) this season after scoring 42 (16 goals) with the Lightning and Dallas last season. After being placed on waivers Dec. 19 (he cleared two days later), he had points in consecutive games and won nine of 11 faceoffs on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Interim coach Rick Tocchet had been critical of Jokinen's efforts in puck battles.

"I knew I wasn't playing the way I can play," said Jokinen, who hadn't scored in 17 games entering Friday and had four points in that span. "I think the last couple games I've been playing better, but I think there is more I can do. It's good to play when every strike doesn't hurt you."

NOT READY: Emergency callup Karri Ramo remains with the Lightning as backup G Olie Kolzig rehabilitates an upper-body injury. Kolzig traveled with the team to Sunrise and worked out with trainers off-ice during the morning skate.

"He's gotten a little bit better but not to the point where we want him," Tocchet said.

Ramo doesn't figure to see the ice soon. Starter Mike Smith is among the league leaders in save percentage and goals-against average and is likely to start again tonight against the Panthers at the St. Pete Times Forum. "He deserves to," Tocchet said.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning scratched Ryan Craig (healthy). Florida scratched Anthony Stewart and former Lightning Jassen Cullimore. … C Nick Tarnasky, whom the Lightning traded to Nashville in the preseason, played against his former team for the first time and fought Evgeny Artyukhin in the second period. Artyukhin, who made a wiping-hands motion to Tarnasky as he was escorted from the ice by an official, incurred a 10-minute misconduct.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Jokinen says he got "wake-up call'' 12/26/08 [Last modified: Saturday, December 27, 2008 5:17pm]
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