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Garrison Signs, Olli Scores

GarrisonThe University of Minnesota-Duluth lost one of its top hockey players on Tuesday as Jason "Bob" Garrison signed a two-year deal with the Florida Panthers.

Don't think Garrison should spend too much money on sunblock, though, what with the winters in Rochester being what they are and all.

In all seriousness, Garrison sounds like a solid signing, a character guy who -- to coin a JM phrase -- should turn out to be a good pro. And, it seems like he has some grit, coming back from a broken leg to play in the postseason for UMD.

From what I was told, JM went to scout and talk to Andrew Sweetland last week after the Tampa Bay loss, with Joe Nieuwendyk handling the Garrison scouting/recruiting. Rumor was Penguins were also in the running for Garrison's services.

-- We're live in Blueland (ugh) for tonight's game. Lot of buzz about this one. These are the kind of games little kids grow up dreaming about. "You know dad, one day I want to play in a completely meaningless game in front of a bunch of empty seats in Atlanta.''

I remember telling my dad how I always wanted to blog about such games. He told me to quit aiming so high.

-- Speaking of that, congrats to Cheryl and Andre LaPalme, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary here in Atlanta tonight. They drove up from South Florida to see some hockey and to do some hiking and biking.

I would have stuck to the hiking and biking.

-- Cory Murphy scratched for a second time. According to the scoresheet, so too is Andrew Sweetland. So there goes that. Branislav Mezei has now been scratched for 10 of the past 11 games. Ironic, too, isn't it? Mezei is finally healthy at the end of a hockey season and still can't find the ice. Feel bad for the guy. Good dude.

-- According to this, save for Vokoun, JM is rolling out the same lineup that coughed up a 3-0 hairball to Washington on Saturday night.

-- General press box musings from Steve X. and Brian Y.: There were probably more people in Saskatoon for that exhibition game oh so long ago than will be here tonight. Probably right.

-- Very late arriving crowd here in Atlanta. Think people are scared of falling glass.

-- Olli Jokinen's first period not only gave the Panthers a lead (!), but also was Florida's first power play goal in 16 tries. Florida penalty kill comes into the night successful in its past 22 kills.

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This really feels like Olli's last hurrah. JM douche's out on him by demoting him to a third liner ice time (I don't want to say third line because Olli on a line w/ Dvorak and Stumpel is probably better than Olesz, Kreps, and MacClean), but who does JM call on on PP's and when we need an extra attacker: Olli. Obviously that is the way it should be because Olli is our best player, but if JM really wanted to prove a point then pull Olli from those roles. Sexton was interviewed by Goldstein on TV and Sexton said the problem with the team was consistency. Granted, he is correct w/ that statement, but it seemed like a veiled shot at Olli. I know you expect the best from your best, but why isn't Captain Inconsistent ever taken to task? Nathan was the guy we wanted and while Staal is carrying a team, Horton is invisible for 3/4 of the year. Only David Booth's hard work has given Horton more visibility. An open plea to Cohen: Keep Olli and dump JM.

You think Peltonen and Stumpy are better than Olesz and McLean? Hah!

I mean, McLean is no first liner, but i'd take those two over stumpy and pelts any day of the week (even saturday!)

lets see....trade a 35 goal scorer or a part time coach....hmmm

It doesn't make any sense to trade Oli. Who are they really going to get to replace him for equal value. I agree with what others have said previously. They have never given Oli the right people to play with. No offense to McLean and Olesz (I like them both), but they are not the stars to take off coverage of Oli. Oli played a couple of decent games with Matthais. He also played well with Zednik.

I agree Olesz and MacClean are better than Dvorak and Stumpel, I'm just saying that whichever line Olli is on is the better line with the other being the true third line. Bottom line is, Olli needs to be surrounded with more talent and a head coach who does not use dinosaur tactics.

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