Well, it didn’t take long for the players acquired at Tuesday’s trade deadline to have an impact with their new teams. Olli Jokinen, involved in the day’s biggest trade when he was shipped from Phoenix to Calgary, wasted no time endearing himself to his teammates and the fans in Calgary, notching a pair of goals to help propel Calgary to a convincing 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jokinen actually had a golden opportunity to net the hat trick in his first game in a Flames uni, but Flyers goalie Martin Biron absolutely robbed Jokinen with a glorious glove save on a shot that was labeled for the top corner. Jokinen meshed really well with linemates Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri, and the trio put up 7 points combined on the night.
Jokinen wasn’t the only Flame making his presence felt. Defenseman Jordan Leopold, in his second tour of duty with the Flames, had a goal as well, scoring late in the first period to stake the Flames to a 4-0 after the opening stanza. Leopold arrived with little fanfare compared to Jokinen’s ticker tape parade, but he will be a useful piece for the Flames down the stretch run and into the playoffs, especially considering the injury to Mark Giordano.
In Phoenix, a pair of the Coyotes’ newest acquisitions were making Gretzky smile. Scottie Upshall, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers, scored a goal, and former New York Ranger Nigel Dawes had an assist on the winning goal.
Another player under intense scrutiny on Thursday night was Sean Avery, playing his first game for the New York Rangers since being picked up on reentry waivers. Avery wasted no time showing everyone that though he might be a changed man off the ice, his game on the ice is the same as ever. He was his old agitating self, giving out stiff bodychecks, drawing penalties, at yapping at opponents all night. The Rangers, as they seem to do the majority of the time they have Avery in the lineup, won the game.
So, the early report card on these players is positive. It will be interesting to see if this is just a honeymoon phase in some cases or if players like Jokinen and Avery can have a meaningful impact over the long term.