As the Hurricanes get set for game two of what they hope is a lengthy playoff run Wednesday night, one of their playoff heroes of yesteryear is hanging up his skates.
Finnish forward Jussi Jokinen, who played nearly 300 games as a Hurricane, announced his retirement from the game of hockey Wednesday.
“I’ve always demanded a lot of myself, and when I wasn’t able to meet those demands any more, it was time to call it quits,” Jokinen, who played three seasons in Finland after leaving the NHL following the 2017-18 season, told NHL.com. “The main reason was I wasn’t able to play any more at the level I’ve played most of my career. I couldn’t help the team as much as I wanted to, so I knew it was the right time to hand [in] the skates.”
Jokinen played 951 NHL games for nine different teams from 2005-2018. He played more games for the Hurricanes than any other team from 2009-13, scoring 68 goals and 185 points in 288 games after coming over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Wade Brookbank, Josef Melichar and a fourth-round pick.
Famous for his shootout wizardry in the early chapters of his career with the Lightning and Dallas Stars, Jokinen proved himself to be a valuable, versatile top-six forward for the Canes, playing both center and wing.
His best season in Carolina (and his career) was his first full one as a Hurricane, as he posted 30 goals and 65 points in the 2009-10 season. In a 2010-11 season that saw the Hurricanes miss the playoffs by a game, and also open with two games in Finland, Jokinen settled into the middle of a line between fellow Finnish forward Tuomo Ruutu and rookie phenom Jeff Skinner, forming the popular “Skinns and Finns” trio that also saw plenty of time together the next season despite injuries to both Skinner and Ruutu.
It was Jokinen’s first partial season and playoffs, however, that made him a nearly instant fan favorite in Raleigh. Jokinen played a massive role in the Hurricanes’ 2009 run to the Eastern Conference Final, with seven goals and 11 points in 18 games.
He scored clutch goal after clutch goal, with the game-winning buzzer beater in game four against New Jersey, the game-tying goal with 90 seconds left in game seven of that series and the game winners in games three and four against Boston that year.
By the time the Hurricanes took the ice for those first two home games against Boston, Jokinen, along with fellow Finns Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen, had become revered among the Hurricanes’ fan base, with signs such as “Did Jussi that” and “No wins without Finns” seen throughout the stands.
The game four winner against Boston spawned the classic call of “Turn on the juice” from former Hurricanes play-by-play man John Forslund, who would use it often when Jokinen scored a big goal in his Carolina career.
Unfortunately, Jokinen’s production quickly fell off in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He posted just six goals and 11 points in 33 games for the Canes, and was placed on waivers before eventually being dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins for conditional sixth-or-seventh-round pick. It was a trade the Hurricanes came to regret, as Jokinen bounced back nicely with 21 goals and 67 points in Pittsburgh the next year.
Following a productive three-year stint in Florida, Jokinen finished out his NHL career bouncing between the Oilers, Blue Jackets, Kings and Canucks in the 2017-18 season before wrapping up his playing career in Finland.
Jokinen made many stops throughout his NHL career, but certainly made the biggest impact in Carolina. From the clutch goals in 2009 to the Skinns and Finns line, the Finnish forward gave Carolina fans plenty of memories during his three seasons and change as a Hurricane.