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Olli Rumors

Olli

Here's what we have on the Olli Jokinen rumors:

I get a call Saturday afternoon, telling me Olli is upset because he's heard that JM is shopping him around to other teams. Also told the team is pretty upset about stuff (losing included) and there may be some sort of "revolt" Will talk more on that below.

I can't get confirmation on rumors during the afternoon, but obviously this rumor has legs.

JM and Alan Cohen hear about it in the afternoon; Olli's agent -- Mark Gandler -- hears about it and calls Olli. French-Canadian all-sports network RDS reports it sometime in the evening.

After tonight's Carolina-Florida game, we speak to all the folks involved -- except for the base (as far as I know) of where the rumor started.

Olli, who appeared to be in a pretty good mood to me this morning, says all is well. He spoke to management -- including Michael Yormark apparently -- and says he is happy with their explanation.

“I don’t know where they get this information,’’ Jokinen said. “As a player, to be quite honest, I’m used to this stuff. But it’s not what you want to hear. It’s not a good feeling to get a call like that from your agent.’’

JM tells us basically the same thing, says there is no truth to the rumor. At all. Says because the rumor came out of Canada "it must have been started in Canada by someone who wants him.'' Could this be another shot at Mike Keenan? Who knows. Canada's pretty big.

Alan Cohen chimes in, laughing at the report and telling Olli he basically has a no-trade clause in his contract because "I'm never trading him.''

Onto the other rumor about players not being happy.

This I believe, although I don't know about this whole revolt thing. I think guys are tired of losing, tired of coming up with the same excuses. But for the most part, they come out and give a good effort every night and are in every single game. Losing at the end of games the way this team does is troublesome and I think its bothering guys in a very profound way.

I think it's good JM squashed the Olli rumors, and it appears he did it the right way. He didn't wait for the rumors to blow up, he quickly went to Olli and defused them. Get it out in the open. This organization has done things in the shadows for a long time. It hasn't helped cultivate a winning attitude.
Like I wrote earlier, the Ollu rumors didn't make much sense. Olli's captain and face of this franchise -- for better or worse. Management is behind Olli. Just the other day, Michael Yormark told Olli this is his team; Alan Cohen told me he expects Olli to start carrying this team.

Rival GMs love planting stuff like this. It's very possible JM hasn't spoken to a single soul about Olli -- but someone planted this and it moved on.

I am interested in seeing the makeup of the locker room. I don't think JM has lost his voice in there, and the power he wields as GM adds to his weight as the coach. I don't believe he is going anywhere. This organization has been floating around rudderless for too long.

They have stability now and have to hope staying the course will help turn into victories. The Panthers organization has said all the right things about the way they want to turn things around, and have backed up talk by opening the checkbook. They need to stay the way they are going.

And the players, the ones who ultimately aren't getting the desired results on the ice, need to stick together and trudge through.

The team gets a day off in Washington DC on Sunday. I think this could be a good opportunity. Go out, have some fun, watch some football, blow off some steam (and take cabs). This is one up-tight team, and a little fun -- DC ain't Vegas but whatever -- could do them a world of good.

As one player I talked to today said "all this goes away when we start winning.''

And that's the truth, ruth.

-- Those who want to join in on the discussion, please do. Would love to hear from fans about this. A couple of comments from the previous post were deleted when I merged and rewrote the two posts. Sorry about that.

I welcome any and all comments on posts. The more the merrier, as long as we keep it clean.

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This is a team that desperately needs a little more grit and a LOT more scoring help. I'm sorry, but if your top line includes Ville Peltonen or Jozef Stumpel or Richard Zednick, you are in trouble. Peltonen is a checker with decent offensive upside. Stumpel and Zednik are secondary scorers. The offense runs ice cold, but only gets lukewarm. You get the feeling this team needs to grind and claw for every goal.

AS for players not being happy about losing, maybe they should look in the mirror and man up. Show a little pride. Start hitting people, get in a fight or two. Play with an us against the world mentality. Something, anything! These guys seem to be afraid of success. Every time they seem to be in line to make a run or leapfrog people to get in contention, they fold under the pressure.

The Panthers have a good coach, decent talent, and play a defensive oriented system that is designed to keep games close.

Unfortunately, the Panthers have been outscored in the third period by a ratio of almost 2 to 1. The reasons for the repeated third quarter collapses are lack of leadership and lack of mental toughness, which may come down to the same thing.

We fans need to be patient and hope that the team comes together and matures. We could really use a scoring LW as well.

I would be a little hard-pressed to put my thoughts in a better context than G did, but I have two cents in my pocket so I might as well spend them and expand on the above.

First, if anyone in the organization or a fan of the team is happy about how this season has unfolded thus far, I-95, I-75 and Florida's Turnpike all go north and I can help give you directions to any of the on ramps. That being said, if any of the "core" players (Jokinen, Bouwmeester, Weiss, Horton, Allen) are moved that would be a giant leap backward in the progress of the franchise, not to mention it would help us miss the playoffs again since no team is going to trade us "the answer" in the middle of a season.

Second, we have a team of talented players right now and any wholesale changes will only cause major distractions, disenchantment and possibly a "revolt" which will benefit nobody. The players need to figure out how to get points as the team they are now and not have to worry about whether the name on the locker next to them will be the same tomorrow morning.

Bad news and rumors always follow teams that are struggling, and that inevitably helps them continue to struggle. The atmosphere we have right now would make anyone afraid to make a mistake, and that is probably contributing to the mistakes and lack of success.

We have a long way to go and we can resign ourselves now to a miserable winter and spring, or we can help put together a great run that we all can enjoy.

All good comments..

I gotta say, the management has handled the rumors well, given that they aren't lying through their teeth. They came right out and defused the rumor quite quickly. But the general unhappiness is understandable. But honestly, who is to blame here? JM? Refs? Divers? I'm thinking "no" on all of those. I think its up to these guys to gel, and to operate as a single entity. Thats how you're going to win more games than you lose in the long run. If you know that you'll have a guy to back you up on the ice, and you know to back up another guy, then each player can relax. We just need to, as others have said, pull together and string some wins together. There are guys on this team who KNOW that the organization is looking to them to turn things around. They could look really good if they step up right about now.

I was at the Washington game this past week and the one thing that really came to me is that this team just doesn't hit hard. JM really needs to get on Bouw and have him put out a couple of good hits and stop relying on Allen or whomever hes paired with to do all the hitting. Jay's a big kid and a smart player and I think he is a great d-man, but he really needs to put a couple of big hits instead of letting guys like Kovalchuck and St. Louis skate around and pile up opportunities. When he gets this chance he needs to knock the wind out of these guys especially when the Panthers up. I'm not backing up the following with any stats because I dont have them but it seems to me like the Panthers have been scoring the 1st goal a lot and are getting ahead of teams but they just let teams back in the game. I think a couple of good clean hits, along with some smart D, will help keep those leads and help this team hold leads and win some tighter games.

This team has all the parts. They haven't started firing all at once yet. I don't think it a lack of offense really. You see these lightning games recently and they can score in bunches. It's gotta be something else that's holding them back. You watch them play and it's really like you're waiting for the lights to turn on.

It hurts to say this, but I think the missing ingredient is fans. If there was consistently 12k fans in the arena every night rocking the place and cheering these players they'd be kicking butt. I know it.

There are times when I'm at games and I can have a conversation with a friend on the other side of the rink it's so quiet. I come home hoarse from games so many nights. People see me cheering and stare at me like I'm nuts. We start Let's Go Pan-thers chants and they last maybe 5 reps and people give up. It's disheartening for fans and I can't imagine what it's like for the players. They say it doesn't affect them, but it has to.

I gotta disagree with the previous post.

This team hasn't made the playoffs for 7 years, and even then, its not like they were consistently getting in. In fact, there aren't too many fan bases that would still come out to see their team if they had gone nearly a decade with no playoffs. The fans will come, the team needs to play well first. I mean, in a perfect world, the BAC would sell out every night no matter what, but this team simply hasn't been around long enough, or won enough, to have that kind of a fan base yet.

Its a symbiotic relationship, but really, the team has to give first.

I mean no disrespect when I say this, but that is the most South Florida Fan in a nutshell paragraph I have ever seen and I couldn't agree LESS.

Are you telling me the players aren't giving? It's an honor to go to these games and watch Olli Jokinen kill himself out there. It's a pleasure to watch how effortlessly Jay Bouwmeester transitions from pinching in on the boards to flying back down the ice to back check and break up a rush. I could go on and on about the pieces on this team. They are all there. It's just missing the spark that will light the fire.

I've been to enough games to know this. Maybe only NBA games get affected more by the crowd in the arena. Hockey is incredibly emotional. Players can't help but turn it up when the crowd is into the game. It's a specific kind of adrenaline that only comes at those times. The next time you're sitting on your sofa at home, wishing the team was playing "harder" Why don't you spend the $30 for a babysitter and another $30 for the game and go out there. Tickets really are that cheap, heck there are so many promotions around town and by the team that you can easily get to half a dozen games totally free.

It's easy to say the team needs scoring. What they need is for the core guys to make that jump. A team like the Red Wings at the top of their division have Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Datsyuk, Lidtrom, Osgood. Our 5 of Jokinen, Horton, Weiss, Bouwmeester and Vokoun could be there. But they're not yet. They could be, but they're missing something. Zetterberg was a 7th rounder, Holmstrom was a 10th rounder, Datsyuk was a 6th rounder. Our guys are all top 10 picks overall. They need something to bring it all together. I don't know what it is, I'm just hoping we find it sooner rather than later.

But I'll be there whether they do or they don't cause it's worth it.

Fire Martin. Bring in Denis Potvin as coach.

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