FERNANDO PISANI: WHEN IT MATTERS


As fans of the Edmonton Oilers are well aware, it’s been just a week short of nine years since their team began an unexpected and mesmerizing march to the 2006 Stanley Cup final, starting with an unlikely upset of the Detroit Red Wings to open the first round of the playoffs.

The first step of a memorable eight weeks for Edmonton fans and those of us who covered the playoffs that season was a shaky one as the Oilers dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Former Oiler Kirk Maltby got the winner in that first game before Edmonton shocked everybody by prevailing in six games and this city lost its mind.

Nine years later, all those good feelings about the Oilers are a distant speck in the rear-view mirror, even if the memories remain. Long gone, as are the players who orchestrated all the drama. Time flies, as we are all reminded one way or another. My son Sam was born two months after the Oilers lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to Carolina. He turns nine this August and still hasn’t seen the Oilers in a playoff game.

When Fernando Pisani walked into the studio at TSN 1260 Wednesday to do a live hit on the Jason Gregor Show, a lot of those memories came flooding back. Fitting it was Pisani who triggered that trip down memory lane for me. Pisani, a local boy, was the unlikeliest of heroes, scoring 14 goals, including five game winners and an unforgettable shorthanded goal in Game 5 against the Canes that sent the series back to Edmonton.

Pisani was absolutely money then, when it mattered. Turns out he still is.

A GAME WORTH WATCHING

Plagued by a debilitating condition known as ulcerative colitis, Pisani never did manage to recapture the magic of that spring of 2006 with the Oilers or the Chicago Blackhawks before hanging up his skates in 2012. Settled in St. Albert, he’s a coach with the Alberta Golden Bears now.

Despite nine straight years out of the playoffs for the Oilers, Pisani still has games to play, and one of them is this weekend – Saturday at 7:15 at Servus Place in St. Albert. It’s a game that matters, so he’ll be there. That, not just the good, old days, was what Pisani was at the studio to talk about.

Pisani, now 38, and several other members of the Oiler alumni, including Jason Strudwick and Ryan Smyth, will lace up their skates and play a game against a team from the RCMP in support of the families of Constable David Wynn and auxiliary Constable Derek Bond.

Wynn, a 42-year-old father of three boys, was fatally shot and Bond was seriously injured when shot by a gunman at a St. Albert casino in January. Pisani, a father of three, calls it an event that struck close to home for him, as it did for so many. That’s why he decided to help and approached the RCMP.

Admission to the game is free for fans, but organizers ask that people who do come participate in a chuck-a-puck event that’s being held to raise funds. People will also be able to donate to the RCMP fund at the game.

No, it’s not an Oiler playoff game, but it’s a hockey game worth attending and one that’ll make you feel every bit as good as you did nine years ago, when Pisani was money. It’s a game that matters.

You can get more information about the game here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • Hemmercules

    Pisani will forever be in my heart after that miracle run in 2006. Calling out that name after a big goal was pretty awesome. Could use a Pisani on the oilers today.

  • Hemmercules

    Great to see Pisani still doing well!

    On a side note : Bruins fire the GM after missing the playoffs for the first time in 8 years and the Oilers are keeping the management that hasn’t gotten the Oilers in the playoffs for 9 years. Figure that one out!

    • Wax Man Riley

      Thanks y’all for validating my smart ass (yet accurate) comment! 86 approvals basically was the highlight of my day!

      On another side note:
      Do you think Fernando could find a nice charity to donate Kevin Lowe to?

    • PutzStew

      Very good cause. Sad that stuff like this is becoming more common in small centers.

      Another side note though. Sam Bennet also has more play-off points then Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yak, and the big german kid they took before him, He was also driving the play and fit right in.

      Not trying to kick Stu, but Oilers picks might all turn out to be the wrong ones. Could you Imaging this team with Segin, Landskog/Hamilton, Galchenyuk, and Bennet instead of the Hall, Nuge, Yak and the german.

      Wonder if there would be any difference in this team.

      Never mind. Silly idea. Kblow, Mact and Katz would still be there so not.

      • Reg Dunlop

        I am getting tired of fans questioning the Draisatl pick. Sure, Bennet was ranked higher by some scouts. Sure, he’s a good Canadian kid, full of piss and vinegar. Sure he brings speed, skill and courage, things lacking in the oil top 6 forwards. Sure he looks like he will be a pebble in the oiler shoes for a decade. But didn’t you know that Leon won some skating race? Didn’t you know that Kraftwerk is dominating younger, smaller players in jr? Guaranteed he will continue to physically dominate men like Doughty and Byfuglien. GREAT PICK MAC!!!

    • Reg Dunlop

      Let’s call a spade a spade; Bruins fired their GM because Neely wants to call the shots. The whole idea of “POHO” is a joke, they are the GM. GM’s are the Assistant GM’s…..

  • Prongers Promises

    WHY!!!!!! Oh the nostalgia. Oh the memories.

    I remember when everyone thought Chelios potted one to end the OT. video review clearly shows the net get bumped up and the puck slid under.

    I went wild. I cried like a little girl I’ll admit it

  • A-Mc

    I think i had a bm sighting this morning infront of the Shaw Conference Centre.

    I thought i recognized a face coming towards me and when he passed, i turned around to see an OilersNation hoodie.

  • lucky

    Seriously, I still have trouble talking about it. Then I go and play that damn clip. FCUK! I thought I could deal with it. What’s the official ruling here, do I have to give my chips back?

  • Keg on Legs

    I have fond memories of #34, we affectionately called him Pizza from up in Sec 215 that glorious spring, ohhhhhhhh the memories…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  • LibrarianMike

    My son was born in June that year that playoff run almost killed him a few times don’t watch playoff hockey with a new born in your lap

    Ps. He made it

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    9 years ago I was 32 and still had all my hair. I’ll never get my youth back, nor my hair, but oh how I’d love to re-live even a single series, make it 7 games, and the Oilers win in OT… Magic…

  • geoilersgist

    So glad to that clip was put in there 🙁 ended up looking up the video for all those goals from that spring. I was 20 and lived the dream during that run. What I wouldn’t do to have Oilers playoff hockey now.

  • BobbyCanuck

    As great as it re-living the past, or having heated debates about which 5th rounder pick may blossem into an NHL player

    Would you fine journalists consider covering the play-offs?

    I know this is an Oiler site, but a couple of months of rest from the Oilers trails and tribulations, may do us all a world of good

    Or atleast until April 18th

    Thanks

      • Phuryous George

        I just went to JetsNation. THere are 3 articles since yesterday about Ducks vs. Jets, with a grand total of 5 comments. This is the 21st post on an article about a player from almost 10 years ago.

        sad….. but love the ON!

      • BobbyCanuck

        Nooo, I like your guys writing style, and would also be interesed in reading Oilersnation comments concerning the other series.

        Nice well balanced journalism, with unbaised reporting.

        I do enjoy all your articles concerning former players and the charitable events they put on around our community, I am not trying to discount the importance of this type of reporting, not even a little bit.

        You guys post new articles everyday, whats the harm in doing a piece on a play-off team every now and then?

        Or do you feel like talking play-off hockey over here would be far to much like pouring salt on a wound that has been open and festering for 9 years?

        I am a hockey fan first, and an Oiler fan second.

      • Dirtski

        Maybe there could be an NHLNation – somewhere the overflow of Oilersnation addicts (like me) can turn to in that time of year the Oilers are “not allowed” to play in the NHL.

        Just the general breaking news nation site on the state of the NHL and buzz of what’s happening. As the Oilers are obviously not happening. (would like royalty cheque / oodle noodle gc / a room to crash in that new place Wayne built / actual bag of milk signed by Ryan Smyth – for the awesome idea) Thanks.

  • BobbyCanuck

    For all of you fans that have been commenting and asking.. ” why and where is the write-up article in response to MacT’s presser?

    Well the articles are there, just not ON.

    Great write up by Matt @ Hockey Buzz,/April 15th[ guess he didn’t want to or not allowed to run on ON.

    The other one by Allan Hull @ Copper and Blue,April 15th.

    Both guys would not be on the Oilers Xmas card list next year, but the write up’s are the best.

  • Zarny

    I had the pleasure of playing with Fernie in Jr before he went on to bigger and better. A great person and it’s truly a shame his NHL career was cut short.

    Sounds like a great game this weekend. Hopefully fans around Edmonton can show support for such a good cause.

  • Zarny

    Great dude. And excellent uniform. I always wanted to see Oilers in same styled new/old jerseys. Especially McLellans’ ‘flying oil drop’. Modified but in same mood.

    Copper, gold, double blue (Saskatchewan azure jerseys and navy shorts), white. And Buddy Rigger on shoulders.

    P.S. Strange that no Italian-origin dudes in actual Oil roster. Arco gone to desert, Pinizzotto in minors. And thats’ all.

    • Kevwan

      From the one game I watched (last night) Bennett looked like an 18 year old game driving beast. It’s hard to believe the Oilers passed on him for Draisaitl. With Monahan and Bennett as young centres, Calgary has a bright future.

  • Hemmercules

    Though I was lucky enough to be in the building for all five of the Oiler Cup runs, 2006 has a special place in my heart. I put in for extra seats for the playoffs and luckily got two more, which enabled me to take my sons, and my best friend, Darcy, to every game in that unforgettable, improbable, miracle run.

    It was the only time my boys got to experience the thrill of a great playoff journey and sharing that with them was more fun than the actual years we won it all. I will never forget what it was like in that building. It was very loud the night they won their first cup in 1984, but this was a whole new level of crazy from Game one on. It must have sounded fabulous on TV, but you had to be there to appreciate just how wild it was. Every night after a home game I would go to bed with my ears ringing and that ringing would only stop when it was time for the net home game.

    Fernando channeled his inner Jari Kurri, for eight golden glorious weeks, capped by that roof-lifting short-handed OT winner in Game 5, and he also scored our only goal of the final game and had the bets chance to tie it in the third period. Pronger was all-world and Roloson was also unbelievable. It is the memory of those nights that keep me going in these darkest of days for the franchise. Thank you Fernando for all you did, and Robin, for reminding me.

    Some day there will be playoffs again in the Katz palace, but God only knows when.

  • Wax Man Riley

    That 2006 playoff run and Pisani will always be extra-special for me and bring back emotional memories.

    My father passed away suddenly in March of 2006. The Oilers were something we could always talk about when we couldn’t talk about anything. It was such an amazing distraction for 3 months (including the run leading up to the playoffs), and I will never forget it.

  • ubermiguel

    If I can make it to the game I’m taking my lucky ’06 Cup Run jersey to try to get it signed, but only by memebers of that team. No offence Struds, but I wouldn’t let Fuhr, Messier or Gretzky sign it…that jersey and that team hold a lot of memories. Heck, I’d even love to have MacT sign it, the last 9 years don’t detract from what he did that beautiful spring.

    EDIT: Except Conklin and Bergeron, they may never touch my lucky jersey, I’m taking that grudge to my grave.

  • hagar

    Being an oilers fan is like being the only person at a party that isn’t drinking.

    What an exciting time of year the playoffs are for most people. It’s still awesome to watch other teams, but it’s just not the same.

    How depressing. The second the oilers show they aren’t making the playoffs next year, I am officially picking a new team to follow. Center ice package is in my future.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I only remember they lost when it mattered the most. Making it all the way to the grandest stage in the NHL, only to become the biggest loser wipes out almost everything for me. There’s winning, and in this case long term misery for Oiler fans. Puck that day!