Jokinen: "Everybody has to be better"
That was the message Panthers' captain Olli Jokinen sent to his teammates yesterday, according to the Miami Herald.
"Everybody has to be better. It's not one guy or two guys. Whatever your role is, you have to be better. You can't just sit here and say, `Oh my God it's going to happen again."
"Expectations should be a lot higher. Expectations going into the game should be getting two points. That hasn't been here in the past, and I don't think it's been here lately. Every game lately we've been giving up goals in crucial situations. You can't have that happen.''
If you've read my story in today's Post, then you probably recognize that the Caps and Cats are facing similarly dire situations after falling short of expectations over the season's first month. Both clubs are in desperate need of a lengthy winning streak to get back into the playoff race. It's not too late for either of them, but time is of the essence.
Both teams are also expected to be relatively healthy as they meet for the first time this season (Washington has already played the other Southeast teams twice).
Losers of five of their past six, the Caps will welcome captain Chris Clark back from an eight-game absence due to a ear/head injury. Coach Glen Hanlon told me yesterday that Clark will rejoin the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Michael Nylander, and I assume duty in front of the net on the power play. Clark's return leaves Alexander Semin (sprained right ankle) as the only injured Cap, and he's said to be making progress.
As for the Cats, who have lost four straight, they're expecting to get defenseman Bryan Allen (concussion) and former Cap Richard Zednik (flu) back, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Note:Like most of you, I'll be watching the game from the comfort of my living room. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll probably recall that I don't do Sunrise, Fla. Actually, we've got a veteran sports writer, Amy Shipley, who lives down there. She covers two or three of the Caps-at-Cats tilts each season to give me a day off. I'll meet up with the team in Tampa on Friday.
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