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Olli Versus Florida, NEXT!

OllihawkTEMPE, Ariz. --

So, all those reports of Olli Jokinen and Jacques Martin not getting along last year were false, eh?

The frosty relationship we reported on and was told wasn't true? Come on. We all know better. 

These two did not like each other, did not get along. At all.

Today, Olli got in some barbs, although he didn't stop for emphasis or anything sinister like that.

One reason he likes playing in Phoenix? The front office and the management. Says it's important that GM Don Maloney "played the game" at the NHL level and he enjoys playing for a coach with the stature of Wayne Gretzky.

"This is such a good group of guys and it all starts with the management,'' he said. "Our whole coaching staff has playing experience. That's just amazing. It's a lot more fun. I come to work at the rink with a big ol' smile on my face every day. I haven't been able to do that the last couple of years in Florida. It was just too much.''

-- Olli doesn't know much about Pete DeBoer, but its obvious he's not a JM fan: "I always wish the best for the Panthers. I had a good seven years there. And I hear they finally have a good coach. That's good.''

-- On the rivalry between himself and the Panthers, Olli said "there's always five or six new guys there. I don't even know half the team.''

According to my rudimentary math skills, Olli played with 16 of the 20 guys on the ice tomorrow, a little better than 50 percent.

-- Olli doesn't like to see the Panthers lose: "I'd rather them come in here winning five in a row. But we can't be too focused on what they're doing or what they're going through.''

Guycharron2 -- Everyone knows Jokinen will pass Guy Charron to become the all-time leader in most games played without appearing in the playoffs this season.

Guess when?

Saturday night against the Panthers.

Olli's not on a playoff team now, not by a long shot. But he wasn't in Florida either. And no one is here blaming him for things that, well, now look silly. The Panthers are a mess right now, and Olli isn't here to take the blame. Something's wrong in FLA, but it isn't Olli Jokinen's problem anymore.

Or Guy's.

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