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Jussi Jokinen scores hat trick vs. Canes team that waived, traded him

Oct 8, 2013, 10:21 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 8: Jussi Jokinen #36 of the Pittsburgh Penguins beats Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead during the first period on September 16, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images) Getty Images

It was less than a year ago that the Carolina Hurricanes just wanted to get rid of forward Jussi Jokinen. They were open to giving him away for nothing on waivers, but teams didn’t want his $3 million annual cap hit through the 2013-14 campaign.

Eventually the Pittsburgh Penguins agreed to take a chance on him, but only if Carolina retained part of his salary, which they did. That’s quite the fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer, but Jokinen has been determined to prove that he’s still a valuable player.

He paid immediate dividends for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring seven goals and 11 points in 10 regular season games last season. Then, against the Hurricanes tonight, he made them pay for giving up on him with a hat trick in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 victory.

“I won’t even try to deny it,” the 30-year-old forward told the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. “It’s always extra motivation when you play against your former team.”

Pittsburgh are now 3-0-0 as they get ready for their first road trip of the 2013-14 campaign. They will play against the Panthers on Friday.

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