Pisani 'kid in a candy store'

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Understandably he looked like a kid delighted to be playing his first hockey game.

In a sense Fernando Pisani was.

Only a few months ago the Edmonton Oilers forward was struggling with ulcerative colitis.

He couldn't keep any food down, struggled to walk up a flight of steps and needed to make constant trips to the bathroom.

Pisani lost about 30 pounds, and at the start of the season, looked as though he would never play hockey again, much less make it back this season.

But Pisani was back last night, making his return, ironically, in the same area where his NHL debut took place.

"I feel like I've come a long way," Pisani said. "I was really nervous and excited before the game and I was looking forward to getting back on the ice, just being on the bench and on the ice with all the guys. Those are the things that you miss when you're not playing, being on the ice with the team."

Pisani's first shift took place 2:14 in to the first period, lining up on an offensive-zone faceoff with Patrick Thoresen and Robert Nilsson.

The shift didn't last long as the line headed straight for the bench because the Ducks had their top line out on the ice.

Craig MacTavish used Pisani to kill the Oilers first penalty. It was a shift that lasted well over a minute with the Oilers hemmed in their own zone after twice failing to clear the puck. Pisani was finally able to get a hold it and sent it down the ice before slowly making his way to the bench.

"I was pretty exhausted, it seemed like we were in there for quite a while," Pisani said. "The legs were getting straighter and straighter and my back felt awful after that."

Pisani finished the night having played nine shifts for 6:43 of ice time. It was a lot more ice time than he got the first time he played in Anaheim, the site of his NHL debut.

Pisani made his NHL debut in Anaheim back in January, 2003, playing just 66 seconds.

"It was the best 66 seconds I had," Pisani said. "I was dashing, it was great."


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