SUN Hockey Pool

More tough luck for Pisani

Fernado Pisani has had a rough go of it the past few seasons. (Perry Mah, Sun Media file photo)

Fernado Pisani has had a rough go of it the past few seasons. (Perry Mah, Sun Media file photo)

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

ATLANTA -- If Fernando Pisani didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.

Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers forward left the team and went home due to complications with ulcerative colitis.

"He'll go see his doctor in Edmonton," said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. "I'm not sure what the next steps are for him, but his time away is determined to be indefinite at this point."

Back injury

Pisani had just recently returned to the lineup from a back injury. He's played just six games this season, having yet to register a point.

Last year the local product broke his ankle crashing into the end boards against the Detroit Red Wings, limiting him to just 38 games.

The previous season, Pisani was sidelined for the first 26 games of the season with ulcerative colitis.

"Fernie's had a tough go and you could see in the last couple of weeks that he hasn't been feeling 100%," said Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray, who himself is trying to work his way back into the lineup from a concussion. "You could see it in his face and it's best for him to go home and get healthy and make sure he's 100%. He's only cheating himself if he doesn't come back 100%.

"But he's a battler."

It's a been a tough go for Pisani since his playoff heroics during the 2006 run where he scored 14 goals as the Oilers made it to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.

He's since gone on to score 34 goals in three seasons while battling through a number of different ailments. At the start of this season Pisani was put on extended injury reserve due to a bad back.

"You can tell his energy has been low a little bit and there's a reason for it," said Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff, who's expected to be back in the lineup Sunday afternoon when the Oilers face the Atlanta Thrashers. "We want to get him healthy, because when he's going, he's feeling good and he's healthy, he's a huge part of this team.

"He wants to play, but at the same time when you talk to him, he's starting to realize there is more to life than hockey and you have to think about your life past the game and your well-being. But I think it's a different scenario this time than before. He'll just go home, get some rest, get healthy and get all his energy back, then he'll be back to his old self."

Pisani was first diagnosed with the disease that affects the intestine back in 2005. However, it wasn't until the summer of 2007 that he got extremely ill, putting more than just his hockey career in jeopardy.

"Back then, I think it was a whole different scenario," said Horcoff. "We came back the one summer and I think he was still wondering how to deal with it. It was tough on him, but I think this time is different, it's not as severe. However, he needs to deal with it. It's a matter of life and overall health."

Tough enough

Playing NHL hockey is tough enough.

"It's a tough enough game to play when you feel fine physically, but when you have something like that, which adds to the everyday rigours of our life, it's almost impossible to deal with from an energy standpoint for him," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau. "It's more than frustrating for him, I'm sure. But this goes beyond hockey and it's about quality of life. We just want him to get back to normal and feel better for him and his family's sake."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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