Bylsma: seeing No. 11 in red still weird

10/28/2013 2:23 PM

10/28/2013 2:24 PM

It still seems weird, even a bit awkward, seeing Jussi Jokinen and Brandon Sutter in the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room.

Trades were made. Time has passed. Both have settled into the Pens' lineup. Still, they can seem out of place in the cramped visitors' room at PNC Arena.

Then there's the other guy -- Jordan Staal. He was drafted by the Pens, played six seasons for the Pens and helped the Pens win a Stanley Cup before being traded to the Canes in June 2012 in the deal that sent Sutter to Pittsburgh.

Think it's weird for Pens coach Dan Bylsma, seeing big No. 11 in another jersey? It is.

"I was talking to Brandon today about how he feels a year and a bit later," Bylsma said Monday. "I don't know that I'm ever going see 11 in a jersey and not think it's odd. You watch three games scouting and see him on the ice, his mannerisms, how he skates, what he does. He can be wearing no number or a totally different number and it's weird to see Jordan Staal not in a black and gold jersey.

'I don't know that you ever get used to it. There's some familiarity now that you've seen Jordan for six, seven, eight, nine games on the other team. But you see him skate and do something, you see him do something like Jordan and you think, 'That doesn't look right.'"

Jokinen helped the Canes reach the 2009 Eastern Conference finals against the Pens with some huge playoff goals. The Finnish forward believed he had found a home in Carolina when he was traded to the Pens last season.

Being traded was a jolt but not a new sensation for Jokinen. The Dallas Stars sent him to Tampa Bay and the Lighting later traded him to Carolina.

Jokinen said acceptance for some trades is easier than others but said some do provide "extra motivation."

"When you can get extra motivation you'll take it and try to take advantage of that," he said.

Jokinen has five goals and two assists in the Pens' 7-4-0 start. Playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin, Jokinen had three of his goals -- his second career hat trick -- in the 5-2 win over the Canes on Oct. 8.

"It depends on what kind of roles you play," Jokinen said. "I've played different roles throughout my career in every team I've played on.

"When I played here my role was different than it is now. I've been in position to play with really good skilled players in an offensive role with guys like Malkin. You're expected to produce."

Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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