SUN Hockey Pool

Pisani's final weekend?

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

LOS ANGELES — Fernando Pisani never envisioned it might end like this.

Not after the magical run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006 where seemingly everything he touched went in the net.

Yet Saturday could be Pisani’s penultimate game in an Edmonton Oilers uniform as they take on the Los Angeles Kings. The local product is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it’s uncertain whether he fits in the team’s future plans.

The Oilers conclude the season the following night in Anaheim.

“It’s one of those things that I really don’t have any control over right now,” Pisani said. “Until July 1, if nothing happens, then I’ll think about it. But for now there is no use worrying about it.”

Pisani heads into the contest against the Kings with four goals and three assists in 38 games this season. It’s been a disappointing year as the 33-year-old winger has once again been hampered by injuries.

He had back issues at the beginning of the season and was then forced out of the lineup with ulcerative colitis. In total, Pisani missed 37 games this year, including one he sat out with the flu.

It all coincides with the injury frustration he’s endured in the previous two seasons, not allowing him to get back to the form that saw him score 14 goals in the 2006 playoffs, helping the team get into the final.

“This is not how I planned it or wrote out how it would go from there,” Pisani said. “I had higher expectations for myself and for the team. This is not an ideal situation for anybody in this dressing room.

“But it’s one of those things with injuries, I haven’t had too much control over it. It’s part of the game. You can’t really sit back and say ‘What if’, because you can go crazy thinking about those things.”

For that reason, Pisani is trying not to worry about the fact his days as an Oiler may be numbered.

The team’s last-place standing has the organization re-evaluating their entire situation. Changes are expected as the club goes through a rebuilding process.

“Realistically, when we look back at the season, we have to evaluate all the factors and try to make decisions based on those factors,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.

“The big thing now is that we’re looking towards our future and we have to make good assessments of what went on and hopefully make good decisions for the future and make some big steps going forward.”

Whether those steps include keeping around veteran players like Pisani remains to be seen.

With the exception of Shawn Horcoff, every veteran’s future with the team is up in the air.

“I understand that it’s part of the game and these things happen all the time,” Pisani said. “If it happens with me, then I’ll move forward and go from there.”

The Oilers are the only NHL organization Pisani’s ever known. He was selected in the eighth round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft and worked his way up through the system to become an everyday NHLer. His most productive season was in 2005-2006 when he scored 18 goals and added 19 assists for 37 points in 80 games.

He then had an amazing playoff run which earned him a contract extension.

It would be hard to imagine him in another team’s uniform.

“It’s one of those things that once the season is over I’ll reflect on that if that’s the case,” he said. “I’ve never been part of another organization before, so it’s hard for me to speculate what that would be like.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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