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Bronze medallist Jokinen returns to Jets energized

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The only Winnipeg Jets’ Olympic medalist was back at work today and professed to be energized and ready for the NHL’s stretch drive.

Centre Olli Jokinen, who won a bronze medal with Team Finland last Saturday, returned to Winnipeg late Monday.

"We all got energized during the Games," Jokinen said after this morning’s practice at the MTS Centre. "It’s two weeks, a fun time, being a part of something good. It gives you energy. It gives you the tools that you want to bring here when you got to play for your teams.

"I think it was more of an energy boost, a confidence boost."

Jokinen was asked how the Finns were able to get over their disappointment after a 2-1 semifinal loss to Sweden last Friday and turn around and dominate the U.S. on Saturday.

"We had a meeting a couple of hours after the game, before we went back to the village, the coaches and some of the older players were talking to the rest of the team that there’s going to be one other country that’s going to be disappointed later that night," Jokinen said. "For us, the big thing was that there’s a huge difference to be fourth or third, a big, big difference. You finish top three or be in fourth place with nothing to bring home.

"So for us it was a big thing to try to regroup and energize and try to win the medal.

"We were able to do that. I think we wanted to win that last game more than the U.S. did. We were able to overcome that tough loss against the Swedes."

Jokinen said there was only joy to be playing along side former Jets’ sniper Teemu Selanne, who was the Olympic hockey tournament’s top forward.

"Teemu’s Teemu," Jokinen said. "He hasn’t changed. He’s he same type of guy he’s always been. He’s done so much for Finnish hockey over 25 years, whenever he’s been playing on the national team, it’s a great thing for him and a pretty amazing thing that he can lead that way and ... can still show a lot of people he can still play at a high level.

"It’s pretty scary thing that at 43 years old, he’s still able to play at the level he’s playing at. He was a big (reason) we were able to get a medal."

The Jets had their full complement of players on the ice for practice today as they ready for the resumption of the season with Thursday night’s home game against Phoenix.

The lines were pretty much as used before the break, but included Evander Kane moving back to his spot with centre Mark Scheifele and right-winger Blake Wheeler.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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