SUN Hockey Pool

Pitkanen feeling fortunate

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a sense Joni Pitkanen feels lucky.

He hasn't seen the video of Pavol Demitra's nasty cross-check from behind that sent him face-first into the boards on Saturday. Nor does he want to.

But the Edmonton Oilers defenceman feels fortunate to come away with just a sore back and an injured wrist.

"I turned to get the puck, then I remember sliding head-first into the boards," Pitkanen said.

"It was pretty scary. I tried to get my head up and I think that's how I hurt my wrist, putting it up when I went into the boards."

Demitra cross-checked Pitkanen in the back in a race for the puck Saturday in Minnesota.

Pitkanen left the game due to his injuries, while Demitra was assessed a two-minute penalty.

Pitkanen is doubtful for tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"He's moving gingerly, but I view that as a positive that he's up and about and moving," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"I think it's going to be a matter of games rather than months which it could have been.

"That's a dirty play. You have a guy that is at his most vulnerable position and you take advantage of him.

"He's going hard to the boards already and then you push him into the boards."

Pitkanen -- acquired in an off-season trade with the Philadelphia Flyers -- scored Edmonton's opening goal against the Wild.

He missed 13 games earlier this year with a knee injury and has six goals and five assists in 26 games.

"I knew he (Demitra) was beside me when I went to get the puck," Pitkanen said.

"I just didn't expect him to shove me from behind.

"I think I was lucky, because it could have been a lot worse."


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