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This is why it's so much fun covering hockey in Calgary.

Olli Jokinen?

Olli Jokinen!

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When you ponder the history, under what circumstances could the Flames possibly ever consider bringing back Olli Jokinen?

Consider that two years ago, Jokinen arrived in Calgary from Phoenix, costing them a first-round draft choice that the Coyotes turned into a blue-chip prospect (Moncton's Brandon Gormley) at last Friday's NHL entry draft.

When they finally shuffled Jokinen out of town to the only team that would take him on, the New York Rangers, the Flames then had to absorb a contract (Ales Kotalik's) that they are busily trying to place in Russia, so they don't have to buy him out.

The Flames were so anxious to move Jokinen out in February that they took on both Kotalik and Chris Higgins from the New York Rangers, one of the few times that GM Glen Sather could ever have been said to get the best of an adversary. On the other hand, Jokinen was the guy who, with the Rangers' playoff lives on the line, was stopped in the shootout by Philadelphia Flyers' goaltender Brian Boucher. The Flyers advanced to the playoffs with the victory and didn't stop until they got to the Stanley Cup final.

The Rangers? Well, they did sign Derek Boogaard Thursday as they bid goodbye to Jokinen.

Still, bringing Jokinen back fits a pattern for general manager Darryl Sutter who has his own view of what's right and what's wrong - and doesn't care what you, me or Pierre McGuire on the TSN panel thinks. Sutter is stubborn. Sutter knows his own mind. Sutter hates to admit mistakes. Jokinen's first stay with the Flames couldn't have been any worse; the assumption is that if Jokinen is playing a different role with someone not named Jarome Iginla, it has to be better. That will vindicate Sutter, in his own mind anyway, and get all those critics to grudgingly see the wisdom of his plan, which seems to elude everybody else.

On a day when the Flames also brought back Alex Tanguay at a deep discount and flirted with the possible acquisition of Marc Savard, another of Iginla's former centres, nothing should ever be a complete total surprise. Not when it comes to Calgary, a team that uses misdirection better than any club in the league. They may not be any better. They may not be worse. But they are different.

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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