I had nearly forgotten that I get to watch Joni Pitkanen for the first time in a long while tonight.
Pitkanen was one of my favorite players for his year in Oilers blue. He was on many nights their best and most talented player. His skill for using his massive frame to remove an opposition man from the puck, then take it away and either begin skating or throw a marvelous flip to the opposition blue line, either making a pass or allowing his mates breathing room, was superb.
I blame Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe for him no longer being an Oiler. I don't buy that just because a man is quiet and doesn't like to booze means he must not be included on the team. Nor that just because a coach cannot figure out what to teach someone that talented, should he be slighted. The man is just a damn fine hockey player. He is the defenceman that I only wished I could be. Unrealized potential, yes, but my what potential it is. The most effortlessly powerful skater we've likely seen in a LONG LONG time in these parts.
At least I'll get to watch him play. Maybe someone on the home team will show up as well...