Best Panthers Player (2006)

Olli Jokinen

It isn't easy to be a hockey fan in South Florida. This is a football state and most people don't get the appeal of the fast-paced, graceful violence of professional hockey. (And last year's strike didn't help much either.) Besides, the Panthers aren't vying to take Lord Stanley from the 2004 champs -- and cross-state rivals -- the Tampa Bay Lightning. But for the fans who sweat it out in wool jerseys and pound on the glass, you know what a steal it is for the Panthers to secure Olli Jokinen for another four years. He's the only Feline ranked in the NHL's Top 20 scorers (actually he's the only one in the Top 60) and has had the honor of being named the NHL's offensive player of the week. Jokinen also scored big during the Winter Olympics in Turin and helped his native Finland bring home the silver medal. This season has been a career-best for the Finn, and now it's up to the 27-year-old captain to rally this litter of kittens and bring another championship to a state that never sees frozen ponds outside of a climate-controlled rink.


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