NATION PROFILE: FERNANDO PISANI

Lowetide
May 24 2013 06:34AM

During the time Fernando Pisani laced them up for the Edmonton Oilers, he was never the team's best player. Never their best forward, never their best right winger. Why then, do we miss him so? 

Because of the character of the man and the splendid way he played the game. I believe the reason we loved Fernando Pisani as an Oiler can be summed up in that one stunning goal he scored in Raleigh those years ago: turning to forecheck and force the play as the puck left the opposition zone, using that big brain and moving laterally along their blue and, cheating only a little while remaining stealth and looking for a turnover, and then pure skill with a quick and deadly stick to intercept the pass before it went offside. A few quick strides and then glory!

It is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

The Edmonton Oilers drafted Pisani out of St. Albert, a bedroom community to the Alberta capital. The club drafted a few St. Albert Saints over the years (Mark Messier, Mike Comrie, others) and Pisani continued the tradition in the 8th round of the 1996 entry draft. 

Although he was picked deep in the 1996 draft, Pisani was regarded as a top recruit for the NCAA (ranked #8 by the Hockey News) and settled on Providence.He played 4 years in college, and then turned pro at the turn of the centry with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. 

GETTING NOTICED

It took awhile for Fernando to get noticed; Jim Harnock mentioned him at HF in April 2002, saying he had established himself as a legit pro hockey player. By June 2003 people were gushing:

  • Guy Flaming:  March (2003) was a great month for Oiler rookies. The emergence of Fernando Pisani was as fortunate as it was unexpected. Quite often a player excels in the AHL but not at the highest pro level. Pisani, another Edmonton product playing at home, had become a fixture with the parent club since early in 2003 and had earned his way into the lineup in place of Dan Cleary. Fernando scored twice against Anaheim early in March and then notched his first career hat trick against the Washington Capitals. It was the first three-goal performance by an Oiler since 2001. Pisani had another two-goal night on April 3rd versus the San Jose Sharks.

It took 2 and a half seasons for Pisani to make his way to the NHL after turning pro, but once he forced his way to the NHL he quickly became a much relied-upon 2-way winger for the Oilers under Craig MacTavsh. Pisani on the ice represented calm waters. He helped introduce men like Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres to the NHL, much like Shawn Horcoff did in 2010-11 with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.  

TRYING TIMES  

After that wonderful Stanley Cup run, Pisani had some health issues (described in the commercial above) and at one point it sounded as though his hockey career was over. 

Incredibly, he found a way to recover his NHL career and flourish. It is one of the truly inspirational stories in team history, and one we'll remember a long time. 

LEGACY

As a player, Fernando Pisani represented Edmonton more than any forward in recent history. He's from the area, he played most of his hockey career within a few miles of Edmonton, he's a hard working guy who put in a full day's work without bitching and he proudly wore his city and his heritage. He was mentor to a generation of Oiler kids, and he was a coach's dream, never balking at the opportunity to help the latest wayward soul the GM brought in.

And when life gave Fernando Pisani a sock in the jaw, he went after it the samw way he forechecked the hell out of those Hurricanes in Raliegh that fateful night. 

And we'll never forgot that moment, or the man. Fernando Pisani.  

 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Dean Belanger
May 24 2013, 07:17AM
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Sorry FISTERS!!!

Any day that Jim Harnock can be worked into a story is a good day.

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#2 Norm
May 24 2013, 07:30AM
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He had a memorable '06 playoff. That does not mean I miss him. Too many Oiler fans idealize the lovable pluggers from the past. That's why the Oil last won a 'Cup 23 yrs ago with only one near miss in that same period.

Talk about Fernando's character and community minded-ness and there is much that is commendable and exemplary about the person. Hockey player...not so much.

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#3 Leef O'Golin
May 24 2013, 08:25AM
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RE OT goal: See what happens when you win face-offs?

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#4 Archaeologuy
May 24 2013, 08:44AM
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I'm still choked he didnt win the Masterton.

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#5 Czar
May 24 2013, 09:15AM
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"As a player, Fernando Pisani represented Edmonton more than any forward in recent history"

He had a great playoff run but really? I'd give that title to Ryan Smyth,before his move to center.

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#6 Spydyr
May 24 2013, 09:41AM
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"As a player, Fernando Pisani represented Edmonton more than any forward in recent history"

Yes,if you look at it like this.

Lowe's massive overpay for good work in a small sample size.Then the player not living up to their contract.That does represent the Lowe era perfectly.

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#7 Czar
May 24 2013, 10:00AM
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@Spydyr

Guess I had the wrong glasses on again.

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#8 Spydyr
May 24 2013, 10:03AM
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Czar wrote:

Guess I had the wrong glasses on again.

Not at all. Pre-trade Smyth would be my choice too.

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#9 Smokey
May 24 2013, 10:43AM
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For 15 games or so he.was the best player. Forever loved and remembered.

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#10 2004Z06
May 24 2013, 12:08PM
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A true Beauty!

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#11 Maggie the Monkey
May 24 2013, 03:37PM
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"It is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

I didn't know you were a gambling man, LT. How often does your wife look at this site??

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#13 D
May 25 2013, 08:21AM
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Lowetide wrote:

As God is my witness, she read that passage and called me at work today. Incredible.

Oh man LT, that is hilarious!

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