January 11, 2015

Fernando Pisani: Hometown Hero

The Edmonton Oilers made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006. There were many heroes that spring. Dwayne Roloson. Chris Pronger. Shawn Horcoff. Ryan Smyth.

And of course there was Fernando Pisani.

Pisani was a hometown hero who magically transformed into a NHL superstar, at least for that spring. He led all post-season scorers with 14 goals including the winning shots in games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup final. He came agonizingly close to scoring a tying goal with just 4 minutes left in game 7, too.

Normally Pisani was not noted for his goal scorer theatrics. He was a gritty, hard working forward. He was underrated in many ways. A sturdy though not pretty or fast skater. Reliable defensively. Drives the net hard. Good shot. He lacked creativity but you knew what you were going to get from Fernando Pisani on most nights.

Pisani never did continue he super-scoring ways after that playoff. He played four more years in Edmonton, barely scoring 14 goals in each campaign. Then injuries and ulcerative colitis took their toll on the Edmonton native.

Pisani retired after 462 NHL games, scoring 80 goals, 73 assists and 153 points. After a season with the Chicago Blackhawks and a brief stop in Sweden, Pisani returned to Edmonton to raise his young family. That includes coaching his kids in youth hockey and controversially building a backyard hockey rink.

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