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Tampa Bay Lightning's Jussi Jokinen clears waivers, hears "wake-up call"

ATLANTA — The Lightning hopes Jussi Jokinen, who cleared waivers Saturday, uses the episode to help fix his game.

"Use it as a wake-up call," he said. "I haven't played good. I can be better and try to help the team a little bit more."

Jokinen and his $1.875-million salary could be sent to the minors. But general manager Brian Lawton said for now, that is not the plan.

"We need more from him," Lawton said. "He needs to respond."

Jokinen, 25, has zero goals and three assists in his past 16 games. He had six goals and two assists in his first 16.

"He's giving a lot of pucks away, bad turnovers," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He's losing a lot of battles. It comes to a point I can't keep putting him out there if he's not going to produce."

Jokinen had a hard-working assist Saturday against Atlanta but played just 11:37, the second straight game he played less than his average 16:43 of ice time. The good news: Jokinen said his sore knee, which kept him out of two practices last week, is pain free.

Tocchet said he had not realized Jokinen was hurting until he sat out, but that doesn't change the bottom line.

"He knows he's playing bad," Tocchet said. "He's got to pick up his game. We're trying to find people who want to play."

TYRELL HURT: Prospect Dana Tyrell, a 2007 second-round draft pick, sustained what is believed to be a significant knee injury in the Canadian national team's tuneup game Friday for the junior world championships. The Lightning had no update.

NO ILL EFFECTS: C Jeff Halpern said his surgically repaired right knee felt fine after playing 17:36 Thursday against the Avalanche in his first game of the season.

ALTERNATE PLAN: D Andrej Meszaros, 23, said he was okay losing the "A" given to Halpern, 32, as an alternate captain. "I understand. I'm still young. Halpy is very experienced," he said. "It was an honor for me to have it; maybe in the future."

TOGETHER AGAIN: Brian Pochmara refereed Saturday's game, two days after ruling G Mike Smith threw his stick during a shootout attempt, resulting in an automatic goal that gave Colorado a victory.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Evgeny Artyukhin was scratched. … RW Mark Recchi's assist gave him 1,399 points and broke a tie with Jari Kurri for 18th all time. … Atlanta's goal 18 seconds into the game was the second-fastest against Tampa Bay to start a road game. … Twenty-four third-period shots tied for third in franchise history in a period and are second-most on the road.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Jussi Jokinen clears waivers, hears "wake-up call" 12/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 11:19am]
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