TOP 100 OILERS: FERNANDO PISANI (55)

For the younger generations of Edmonton Oilers’ fans, the team’s journey to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final is about as good as it gets, as close to the glory days of the franchise as they’ve experienced. Before the heartbreak of a 3-1 loss in Carolina, the Oilers took their faithful on an unexpected and unlikely thrill-ride absolutely nobody saw coming when the season began.

Fernando Pisani was the embodiment of those glorious eight weeks, the poster boy for a mind-bending playoff run that began with a stunning first-round upset of the Detroit Red Wings and then grew into something that had Oiler fans believing anything was possible – a stretch in which Pisani scored 14 goals and played the best hockey of his life. The stuff of legend, it was, and still is.

Fernando Pisani

Right Wing — shoots L

Born Dec 27 1976 — Edmonton, ALTA 


Height 6.01 — Weight 205 [185 cm/93 kg]

Drafted by Edmonton Oilers


Round 8 #195 overall 1996 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

2002-03

26

EDM

35

8

5

13

9

10

25.0

10:43

2003-04

27

EDM

76

16

14

30

14

46

16.2

12:46

2005-06

29

EDM

80

18

19

37

5

42

13.7

13:51

2006-07

30

EDM

77

14

14

28

-1

40

9.9

16:54

2007-08

31

EDM

56

13

9

22

-5

28

13.5

16:32

2008-09

32

EDM

38

7

8

15

-1

14

9.7

15:19

2009-10

33

EDM

40

4

4

8

-16

10

7.4

14:35

2010-11

34

CHI

60

7

9

16

0

10

9.7

12:34

7 yrs

EDM

402

80

73

153

5

190

12.8

14:32

1 yr

CHI

60

7

9

16

0

10

9.7

12:34

Career

462

87

82

169

5

200

12.5

14:1

PLAYOFFS:

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S%

ATOI

2002-03

26

EDM

6

1

0

1

-2

2

12.5

13:48

2005-06

29

EDM

24

14

4

18

4

10

28.6

17:12

2010-11

34

CHI

3

0

0

0

-1

0

0.0

7:55

Career

33

15

4

19

1

12

25.0

15:44

NOTABLE

pisani

I didn’t hear Bob Cole’s call of Pisani’s shorthanded overtime winner in Game 5 in Carolina because I was in the building blinking to see if what I thought I’d witnessed really happened as the bench emptied to mob Pisani, but I bet you heard it. And I bet it still gives you goosebumps when you hear it or watch it today.

Pisani’s snipe, top shelf snapshot over the glove of Cam Ward after he snatched the puck on a Rod Brind’Amour pass attempt at the blueline, was his 11th of the post-season and it gave the Oilers a 4-3 win, sending the series back to Edmonton for Game 6. A shorthanded overtime winner?

How often does that happen? How often does any of what we saw in the spring of 2006 – 14 goals, including five game-winners in a span of 24 games by a player who never scored more than 18 goals in a season — happen? Pisani was the unlikeliest of heroes, an Edmonton boy who’d toiled in the AHL and didn’t even make it the NHL until he was 26. It was perfect.

THE STORY

Pisani

Pisani never came close to attaining the heights he did during those eight weeks before the 2006 playoffs, and he never came close to replicating them again afterward – if that’s even possible. Pisani would have a distinctly underwhelming 28-point season in 2006-07 and then have his career derailed by ulcerative colitis, a condition that ravaged him.

Pisani came back after missing the first 26 games of the 2007-08 season. He’d score 13 goals and earn the team’s nomination for the Bill Masterton Trophy for doing so, but he was never the same. Pisani was limited to 38 games the season after and 40 games the season after that before catching on with the Chicago Blackhawks for 60 games in 2010-11. Then, after 462 NHL games, the unofficial mayor of Edmonton’s Little Italy was done.

Had Pisani not caught lightning in a bottle the way he did for those eight weeks in 2006, he wouldn’t be on this list and his exploits wouldn’t be etched in the minds of every Oiler fan who witnessed them during that exhilarating and stunning run to Game 7. But he did and he is, and what a wonderful, magical memory it is.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 


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

PREVIOUSLY:

  • WhoreableGuy

    I drove all the way from Calgary to Grande Prairie for the Oilers training camp the summer after the Cup Run and Pisani looked like a player that got PAID.

    He was thrown on the first line on all of the scrimmages and he really didn’t belong.

    Bryan Bickell is another player whose career “Pisani’d”.

  • Oil City Roller

    Watching that video made me think of how much I wish 2006 was the final impression MacT left on Oilers fans. I thought MacT was awesome when he played and I loved him even more during that cup run. That would have been a fantastic way for MacT to go out. Not as a bumbling clown and the butt of countless jokes. Kind of sad really.

  • I wonder how many scalpers named their kids Fernando after that cup run.

    Just game 6 revenue should have warranted at least a middle name….. 😉

    What goes somewhat unnoticed is the ancillary revenue that the 06 run generated. A company like Centennial Foods was selling a semi load of chicken wings per game day to the various venues that used their product, and they are but one isolated example of the huge boon to revenue that the unlikely 06 run was for the team/city/area/province.

    In McDavid we trust.

  • fran huckzky

    I have followed the Oilers since they played in The Gardens. They have had numerous suoerstars over the years but by far the three most memorable goals for me were scored by McLelland,Marchant and Pisani. It was those moments where you can remember exactly where you were and who you were with. Hopefully this years edition will give us some of those memories.

  • Serious Gord

    I guess my criteria for ranking the best oilers differs from yours Robin. I don’t put nearly as much weighting on post-season play because getting to play and play well in the playoffs is not a variable that a player can control.

    As a result Pisani is probably not in the top one hundred IMO.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Wow you were there? That is one of my favorited of all time. Still hearing Bob Cole Calling Here’s Pisani…. Scores! Still brings chills and haven’t felt those hockey chills for ten long Years and counting.

  • Oiler Al

    There were a many contributors to the 06 Cup Run for the Oilers, but I think it was the “Tripled P” that cemented that trip: Pronger, Pecca & Pissani.

    Rollie was very good as well, had he stayed healthy,
    No. 6 would be sitting on the shelf. Not a sniff since.

    K Lowe could have boasted that he knows even more with 7 cups.

  • Hemmercules

    What a legend he was that year, if even for just a short time. Seeing him live the following year score an OT winner vs the Nucks was a great night for myself as well. One of the greatest names in team history for sure.

    Thinking about that run brings tears to my eyes. Nothing like that playoff game day feeling. Get nothing done at work, rush home, beer in hand for the puck drop, go to bed either angry or elated and repeat two days later. Hopefully we all get that again in a couple years.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    The Pisani goal was a watershed moment. Its been pretty much down hill since then (I know they won game 6).

    The Pisani goal, Gretzky’s OT short vs the Phlegms in 88 and Klima’s triple OT winner vs Boston in 90 are the three seminal Oiler moments I will take to my grave.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    Adam Oates on an Oilers all time top 100 list??? In 60 games with the Oil he had 2 goals and 18 points. My assumption is that we are talking about players that contributed to the Oil, not the NHL all time top 100.

    If we are going to open it up to anyone who played an game for the Oil at some point in their sometime in the Oil’s history, it would be interesting to see where Jacques Plante rates.

    • Who said anything about “opening it up” to anyone who played “an” game for the Oilers? Oates isn’t on the list because he didn’t do enough in his short time here to get on it, as I noted.

      Any consideration I did give Oates for a bottom-end spot was because of his contributions to the young centres here. He worked with all of them on his own time and players have talked about how much he helped them. As an aside, Oates actually offered to give back a portion of his salary because he was disappointed in how he played. All of which makes him a very solid guy and a good teammate. Even with that, he DIDN’T make the list.

      So, what exactly is it that you’re picking away at anyway? Do tell.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Pisani got sick and would of played far longer if he had not. His play-off run was gold when it counted. The one OT goal is worth the price of admission. Good choice for top 100.