Loose Change: Where exactly is Kalajoki, Finland?
Jussi Jokinen: From Helsinki, hang a left. Three blocks past Nona’s Baltic Herring factory.
LC: Have you played hockey your entire life?
JJ: No. Only during hockey season.
LC: Jussi, I’m dying to askÂ…do you have a brother named Tangy?
JJ: No. I have a sister named Meeti.
LC: Is Dallas a lot different than Finland?
JJ: It’s much warmer in Texas. And the only Lapps I see in Dallas are at strip joints.
LC: What are your feelings on the death penalty?
JJ: I guess it’s warranted if they really feel the need to crack down on obstruction.
LC: Why did you choose the No. 36?
JJ: My favorite player growing up was Jari Kurri.
LC: But he wore No. 17?
JJ: And he played for the Oilers so wearing one of those jerseys would look really stupid wouldn’t it?
LC: You’re 9-for-9 in shootouts. To what do you attribute that?
JJ: Putting the puck in the net. If you score, they count it as a goal. If you miss, they don’t count it as a goal. I would have thought you’d known that already.
LC: But why are you, personally, so successful in the shootout?
JJ: I think it’s a lot of mental and physical preparation. You have to be ready for anything.
LC: Like what?
JJ: Like if a goalie starts shooting poison darts at you or a dyslexic midget riding a near-sighted pony suddenly appears on the ice, I’ll be ready.
LC: How do you prepare for something like that?
JJ: Mentos, mainly.
LC: Do you have a favorite move?
JJ: Well I like to circle around the glass a couple of times, tilt my head downwards slightly and peer deep into her eyes.
LC: On the ice?
JJ: Oh. Well, as I get close to the goalie I go all cross-eyed which usually works pretty well.
LC: He thinks you’re going five-hole?
JJ: Or he feels sorry for me and lets me score. I call it my Kid From The Short Bus move.
LC: Did you have fun at the Olympics?
JJ: Lots. We got so close to the gold medal we could almost taste it. In fact Mats Sundin actually let me taste his and frankly, it reminded me a little of an old phone cord. The silver is more of a tangy brie.
LC: Still it must have been quite the thrill playing for your nation?
JJ: Nothing matches the feeling of hearing your national anthem after a victory, except maybe one of those Szechuan foot baths.
LC: Would you care to sing a couple of bars?
JJ: Of Maamme? Our Finnish national anthem? It’s rather emotional you know?
LC: Go ahead. Give it a shot.
JJ: All right. Here goesÂ…
O Finland, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind
CT: Wow. It’s really beautiful isn’t it?
JJ: When you get to the clapping part it’s almost impossible to keep it together.
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN’s hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Thursday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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