Hawks' Pisani gets shot at regaining golden touch

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Fernando Pisani has been waiting a long time to see if the magic wand he waved for 14 goals in the spring of 2006 still works.

It has been buried, though, under years of dust and frustration, under woeful Edmonton Oilers teams that never made it back to the post-season and under a frightening bout of ulcerative colitis that almost ended his career and derailed his life.

So who knows how much of its spell remains.

"It has been a long time for me," said Pisani, back in the Stanley Cup tournament with the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since his surprise attack on those unsuspecting playoffs. "This is a fun time of year, there's no better time. You look forward to it as a player."

Pisani, whose Midas touch made him a Conn Smythe candidate and helped propel the Oilers to within one win of a Stanley Cup championship, never dreamed it would take this long to get back.

Who does?

"It's hard to predict the future, after we had that run a lot of things happened, a lot of things changed," the 34-year-old winger said. "It's obviously frustrating when you don't make the playoffs. I couldn't predict where I'd be five or six years later, but I like the situation I'm in now, I want to make the best of it."

Pisani played out the contract he earned from his playoff run and when Edmonton jettisoned its veterans to begin a rebuild, found a pretty good landing spot in Chicago.

He's not the same player he was back then -- coach Joel Quenneville made him a healthy scratch in Game 1 -- but he's fourth in career playoff goals on Chicago's roster right now, so ...

"He brings experience, leadership, he's a good kid who you can use in a lot of different areas," said Quenneville, who gave Pisani the nod after Tomas Kopecky's injury. "He's responsible defensively, has a decent shot. He'll be useful for us in a lot of ways.

"A lot of times in the playoffs it's the guys who are least expected to provide scoring or change momentum -- a guy like that could jump up and be a factor that way."

Score 14 again? Highly unlikely from a guy who had only seven goals in 60 regular-season games. He's Fernando Pisani, not Mike Bossy, but that doesn't mean he can't help.

"I think every player who puts the skates on wants to contribute, that's the focus I'm going to have," he said, referring to Game 2 of the opening round series in Vancouver against the Canucks.

"I'm not going to put pressure on myself to score goals every shift I get out there. I'm going to play my style of game and hopefully get a few bounces and everything kind of falls into place."

He does, though, see similarities between the Oilers team that snuck into the playoffs at the last minute, started slowly and began a rampage, and his current club.

"The last two, three weeks of the season it was a life and death situation for us here, similar to how it was back then," he said. "You kind of see how a team responds. Then you're prepared for that in the playoffs."


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