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See Ya Gary ... Olli Jokinen's Fast Start ... Saturday: St. Louis Blues @ Florida Panthers ... Tomas Vokoun IN ... Scorebard Watch, Standings

Garyroberts Gary Roberts' illustrious NHL career appears to be over, TSN reporting today that Robs is going to shut it down after being waived by Tampa Bay and failing to be claimed by anyone.

It would have been nice for Gary to end his career in a playoff game, or perhaps back in the Stanley Cup Finals. You just don't expect a guy with his competitive level to end things with 20 something games left.

Roberts, who came to the Panthers with buddy Joe Nieuwendyk soon after the free agency period started after the lockout in 2005, spent parts of two seasons with the Cats.

He was traded at the 2007 deadline to Pittsburgh for Noah Welch. He played two seasons with the Pens, helping them to the Finals last year. He signed a nice contract with the Lightning during the offseason, a contract that hamstrung his hopes of being picked up off waivers.

Roberts has a huge base salary and a bonus for every game he plays. There aren't many teams that can squeeze that in.

I always enjoyed talking with Gary during his time here, but more so since he left. Now that I'm not 'the enemy' in covering him on a daily basis, talks between us have been much more open and candid. I can see why teams would want a guy on their team. A real team guy, a good mentor for the young kids.

Some of those shakes he makes look pretty gross, though.

-- The numbers -- Games: 1224; Goals: 438; Assists: 472; Game winning goals: 52

-- Olli Jokinen joins the Flames and scores two quick goals to help Calgary bust down the Flames. Mike Keenan heard TSN's Matthew Barnaby be very critical of Olli during the trade deadline, saying people close to Olli called him a locker room cancer.

Olli3 "For Matthew Barnaby to make comments about something he doesn't know about ... he really is just trying to create good television for himself," Keenan said.

Fun stuff indeed. A number of people have called and email me to talk about Olli The Cancer, and this is the jist: I never thought Olli was a locker room cancer. He used to be beloved and followed by almost everyone in that room. Last November when rumors surfaced that JM was shopping Olli, it was a unified front. Guys were ticked.

But Olli lost that. By the end of last year, he was on an island -- it was him, Nathan Horton and to a lesser extent, Ville Peltonen. Olli did create some cliques midway through last year, and it separated the room. But to call it a cancerous situation, well, that's just not so.

Had Olli came back this year, things could have been smoothed out. I don't know what happened in Arizona, but I hear Wayne Gretzky was not a fan of Olli's, and the feeling was mutual. Arizona wasn't a good fit for Olli Jokinen; Calgary, in my opinion, is. He'll be just fine there.

-- Not much happening today at practice, although Nick Tarnasky took a shot off a foot and was in some serious pain. ''This is now my bad foot,'' he told trainer Dave Zenobi by the bench.

-- Pete DeBoer says Tomas Vokoun is back in net Saturday against the surging Blues but hasn't decided what to do about the 12th forward or the sixth defenseman.

-- Yesterday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Panthers losing to Pittsburgh sure didn't help the cause. Florida's loss -- and a win by the Rangers -- means there is a three-way logjam for sixth between the Panthers, Rangers and Penguins. The JokiKeenans beating Philadelphia did help things out.

-- Today's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't all at the Watchmen)

Flames @ Hurricanes, 7: Panthers root for old pals Mike Keenan and Olli Jokinen for a second straight night. Carolina is in 10th right now, just a few points out. Florida would like to see that continue.

Blues @ Lightning, 7:30: This doesn't effect the Panthers' playoff run at all, but the Panthers play the Blues tomorrow, so there's definite interest in this one.

Canadiens @ Thrash, 7:30: Habs are still struggling and the Thrashers appear to have packed it in. If Montreal loses this one, they might be done and done.

Coyotes @ Sabres, 7:30: Buffalo beat up on Montreal on Wednesday and get a Coyotes team that may have lost some parts but definitely haven't cashed in the chips just yet. Coyotes might get to see old goalie Mikael Tellqvist in net against them. Tellqvist was traded to the Sabres on Wednesday.

89flames -- The Standings (presented by the 1989 Stanley Cup champion 89flames1 Calgary Flames and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA Home Away Last 10 Streak
1 Boston 65 42 14 9 93 218 148 21-6-5 21-8-4 3-5-2 Lost 3
2 New Jersey 64 42 19 3 87 199 155 22-10-1 20-9-2 8-2-0 Won 4
3 Washington 66 40 21 5 85 216 195 25-9-1 15-12-4 5-5-0 Lost 3
4 Philadelphia 63 34 19 10 78 203 185 18-9-4 16-10-6 6-3-1 Lost 1
5 Montreal 64 34 23 7 75 195 194 20-6-4 14-17-3 5-4-1 Lost 1
6 Florida 65 33 24 8 74 182 182 17-9-5 16-15-3 5-5-0 Lost 1
7 NY Rangers 65 33 24 8 74 163 177 19-10-4 14-14-4 3-4-3 Won 2
8 Pittsburgh 66 34 26 6 74 202 198 17-12-2 17-14-4 7-2-1 Won 5
 
9 Buffalo 64 32 25 7 71 187 176 18-12-2 14-13-5 4-5-1 Won 1
10 Carolina 65 33 27 5 71 174 188 17-13-1 16-14-4 6-4-0 Won 1
11 Toronto 65 26 26 13 65 195 231 11-11-9 15-15-4 6-1-3 Won 1
12 Ottawa 63 24 29 10 58 159 184 14-12-6 10-17-4 4-4-2 Won 1
13 Tampa Bay 64 21 31 12 54 165 207 11-13-8 10-18-4 3-6-1 Lost 1
14 Atlanta 64 23 35 6 52 191 225 11-18-2 12-17-4 5-4-1 Lost 1
15 NY Islanders 64 20 37 7 47 156 210 14-14-5 6-23-2 4-5-1 Lost 1
 

Western

Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA Home Away Last 10 Streak
1 San Jose 63 42 11 10 94 209 156 26-3-4 16-8-6 5-4-1 Lost 3
2 Detroit 65 43 14 8 94 242 189 24-4-3 19-10-5 6-3-1 Won 2
3 Calgary 64 39 19 6 84 212 187 22-8-4 17-11-2 8-1-1 Won 2
4 Chicago 62 36 17 9 81 208 157 17-5-6 19-12-3 6-3-1 Won 2
5 Vancouver 63 33 22 8 74 190 177 17-11-4 16-11-4 8-2-0 Won 3
6 Nashville 65 33 28 4 70 169 179 21-11-2 12-17-2 7-2-1 Won 6
7 Columbus 65 32 27 6 70 175 184 20-10-2 12-17-4 5-4-1 Lost 1
8 Edmonton 64 31 27 6 68 180 198 15-12-4 16-15-2 4-4-2 Lost 2
 
9 Dallas 64 30 26 8 68 187 197 17-12-4 13-14-4 3-6-1 Lost 1
10 Anaheim 65 31 28 6 68 182 191 15-13-3 16-15-3 5-4-1 Lost 1
11 Minnesota 63 31 27 5 67 161 151 18-11-5 13-16-0 3-5-2 Won 1
12 St. Louis 63 28 27 8 64 173 186 16-12-5 12-15-3 6-2-2 Lost 1
13 Los Angeles 64 27 28 9 63 169 188 14-13-8 13-15-1 3-6-1 Won 1
14 Phoenix 64 28 31 5 61 161 194 17-13-2 11-18-3 4-6-0 Won 1
15 Colorado 65 28 36 1 57 173 207 17-15-0 11-21-1 3-7-0 Lost 6

 

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