Much like other professional team sports leagues, the NHL has its fair share of players who had out-of-nowhere playoff runs. In a way, these players are the one-hit wonders of the hockey world, with obscure characters such as Chris Kontos captivating audiences like metaphorical shooting stars.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Fernando Pisani falls under that category, at least going into tonight’s Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. If it weren’t for his magical 2006 postseason run with the Edmonton Oilers, he would just be known for having ulcerative colitis.
Yet there’s no denying how fantastic that 24-game span really was for Pisani. The career .37 point per game player notched 14 goals and four assists for 18 points, connecting on a stunning 28.6 percent of his shots while producing five game-winning goals.*
Pisani hasn’t come close to duplicating those results, although one must note that he hasn’t played in a playoff game since the Oilers’ Game 7 Stanley Cup finals loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He’ll get his chance tonight, though, as Tomas Kopecky will be sidelined with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to skate alongside Ryan Johnson and Viktor Stalberg in Game 2.
Could Pisani be the unexpected answer to Chicago’s depth problems? It’s unlikely, but then again, so was that red-hot run in 2006 …
* – Yes, that’s more than a series’ worth of GWGs.
Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.
Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.
As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being spanked in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.
Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”
Commodore wasn’t done there:
And there was much, much more.
To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”