When the Oilers take to the ice tonight, #34 will be with them. It's a remarkable turn of events for a man, and a team. The Oilers haven't had much luck and inspiration thus far this season, but Pisani's return is something to smile about, regardless of what happens on the ice. He went from the magical playoff run of '06 to looking like his career was over, and now here we are again.
Of course any good news the Oilers get must be offset by more injuries. Pisani's inclusion comes at the expense of Ales Hemsky and Geoff Sanderson, who didn't make the two-game trip to California after suffering minor (see: season ending) injuries in the win on Friday night. Patrick Thoresen, who is 3rd in the AHL in goals with 12, was recalled and makes his '07 debut with the big club.
While his ice-time will probably be limited in his first few games, Pisani's presence gives the Oilers another reliable veteran, as well as some secondary scoring. It will also be interesting to see how Thoresen's game has developed since we saw him last. MacT has indicated he will kill penalties and I imagine he will get slotted in somewhere on the top three lines. My guess is that Pisani takes Sanderson's spot with Brodziak and Reasoner on the 4th line in order to manage his minutes.
Unfortunately, tonight has the look of another painful lesson. Without Hemsky's offence and Sanderson's speed, the Ducks will stand up at the blueline and force the impish Oilers to dump and chase, something they haven't been willing to do this season. Plus, the Ducks are looking for a little revenge, and the Oilers have to deal with more changes to the lineup. Hang on.