Blackhawks Confidential

New Blackhawks fan favorite arrives anonymously from Edmonton wilderness

August in Chicago is not conducive to Stanley Cup dreams. Those thoughts are microwaved into ambiguity by endless streams of humidity that are more oppressive than sneers from Chris Pronger and certain Detroit Red Wings bloggers we know and abhor 12 months a year, 24 hours a day, 60 seconds a minute.

So in fear that you might miss an important addition to the Blackhawks from whatever air-conditioned igloo you happen to inhabit, I am here to alert you proactively that successfully defending that title just became a little more certain for me.

A brand new crowd favorite has arrived in Chicago, even if you couldn't find Fernando Pisani on Thursday morning on the Blackhawks' official website. The defensive-oriented forward, a positive force at 33, will reportedly be paid $500,000 in a one-way deal.

That momentary, monetary sigh you just heard was from Antti Niemi. But let's definitely move on. As I believe Niemi grumbled and mumbled in Finlandese in remorse: Piss on it.

So we shall. Pisani will be a paisan to one and all, Italians and itinerants everywhere in Hawks world. He has a history as a blue-collar worker, the type beloved by Chicago fans whenever those kind of athletes grace our hard-working city.

Pisani rhymes with Capone if you pronounce Big Al's last name with a finishing flourish and accent it with the screams of EEEE, as they did that famous St. Valentine's Day when the muckers let loose with machine-gun fire.

The Hawks have signed a mucker. Since I'm responsible for my own editing, I'm going to repeat that and see if I can make a mistake. A mucker. Nope. I think that's still safe, although my personal spell check permits all curses and an occasional sexual and social deviation.

OK, you know I have no self-control. So let me be the first to openly welcome Fernando "The Pisser" Pisani to town. I believe he will live up to that apt nickname, pissing off opponents right and left.

If we need a PG rating for schoolboys and schoolgirls perhaps we should rather christen him Fernando The Bull. Nah. I like The Pisser better. And I bet all the little boys and girls will, too.

Since the Hawks' PR staff appears to be on a deserved vacation and unable to follow every single signing, The Tribune picked up the Pisani news from a TSN report.

Hey, it's still hockey in Chicago, even champion Chicago, where some news you simply have to pull from the gutter as it floats by after the latest monsoon.

Personally, I went right to Edmonton without a sled dog to glean the latest on free agent Pisani leaving the Great White North for the Madhouse on Madison. I know where to find hockey, even if the Oilers are a bunch of bums. They remain prominent news nonetheless, chronicling the loss of muckers and mopes alike with amazing details.

The Tribune devoted three paragraphs to Pisani's arrival. The Edmonton Sun, in stark contrast, accorded Pisani a 15-paragraph farewell, only fitting in their opinion for a guy that was a major player in their 2006 Cup playoff run.

He scored 14 postseason goals that year, including 6 game winners. Pisani hit a career high with the team's success that soon reached new lows with health and physical tolls a reason he has been held to much lesser achievements ever since with a much lesser team.

The Hawks are getting a guy even Oprah could relate to. You don't read too far into any story without being told Pisani suffers from ulcerative colitis. He's certainly coming to the right city, because a lot of us know the symptoms well after living with Cristobal Huet in goal for a while.

And I'm beginning to sweat in anticipation right now with the forthcoming David Haugh story in The Trib that will outline every nook and cranny of colitis--and surely bring us into the bowels of desperation and despair of how an athlete is able to be such a pain in the ass on the ice while he deals with this serious condition.

"Health-wise, I feel great, everything is good," Pisani told the Sun's Robert Tychkowski. "I'm raring to go. I think (his colitis) was an obstacle. There is obviously a little bit of leeriness when it comes to that.

"People think I'm still sick and all that, but I just have to keep reminding them that I'm healthy, everything is good and I feel great. I'm still on the same meds, still do the same things, but I'm going in confident with my ability to play the game."

Pisani played just 40 games last season for Edmonton, 38 in  '08-'09 and 56 the season before that. But maybe the time is right for him to forge a comeback. He finished minus-16 last season. We'll ignore that, take it for what it is worth, and expect better in Chicago, where defense is king.

"It's going to be a new chapter in my life," Pisani said. "We'd been talking for the last week or so (with Hawks GM Stan Bowman)."

Tychkowski planted a big wet kiss on Pisani in his story, writing this: "Pisani is a luxury that mediocre teams can't afford, but is an asset that every strong club needs, if that makes sense. It won't matter much if he doesn't put up any offence in Chicago, they've got that part covered 10 times over, but his penalty killing, defence and playoff experience are important assets."

In other words, they obviously loved him in Edmonton, on and off the ice.

Pisani appears to have had a well-rounded education at St. Edmund's, Archbishop O'Leary Catholic High School and Providence College. He even played in juniors for the St. Albert Saints in Alberta.

It'll take him at least two months to be indoctrinated and enslaved by Patrick Kane into the ways of life in the Chicago fast lane, where limos, ladies and libations await. Pisani can call John Madden for advice.

Saints above, please watch over him.

Then again, a few nights with Kane and Jimmy Buffett and Vince Vaughn and Lindsay Lohan (who'll be out of rehab soon) might knock the colitis right out of him.

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18 Comments

Dave Morris said:

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Buongiorno Signore Kiley, the arrival of Fernando in Chicago is an occasion for Hawks fans of the Italian persuasion (and other persuasions, should they be so inclined) to say "Bravissimo!"

Now we can be sure, with Mssrs Turco and Pisano, that the post-game gelato or zabaglione or whatever it is the princes of Hawkey nosh on, will be of the finest quality.

I remember watching Ferdie do his doody for the Oily Ones that year they shocked the hockey world by going to the Finals.

If Paisan Pisani can peck away at the puck on the PK with as much persistence as he has in the past, the Hawks may have not one, but two prime pests...given that Dave 'The Rat' Bolland has already proven he can bamboozle the best.

And StanBow got FP dirt cheap.

"La Vita E Bella."

Ciao!

beaverwarrior said:

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Once Huet is in the tail lights, The Hawks will have 1.45 million in cap space. Which is a bit more than the 1.14 million needed to bring up Beech.

Mike Kiley said:

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Everyone's going to the Beach. Why not the Hawks, too.

beaverwarrior said:

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But will it a happy trip or a "what were we thinking" type of Trip?

beaverwarrior said:

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forgot a word. sorry

But will it be a happy trip or a "what were we thinking" type of trip?

Mike Kiley said:

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Time to sink or swim. if Beach can't be part of the party now, he never will be.

borg said:

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Beach is just 20 and has only played in a handful of pro games. I don't think it's make the roster or bust for him. I hope he proves good enough right now to do so, but a year or even two in the AHL wouldn't be disastrous.

VegasHawksFan said:

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I like seeing comments like "he's a luxury that mediocre teams can't afford but is an asset that strong clubs need." Not assuming anything here yet, but seeing that makes me think the Hawks can still be on the track to being THAT team that veterans want to go to. With more kids in the locker room this year, veteran, strong work ethic guys on the third and fourth line are good to learn from and are also good reminders that there are solid if not overly talented guys out there who can still take a kid's job. On the surface, the Hawks gave away too much. But until I see them play out to the quarter pole, I'm going to still be optimistic that this team has enough to be in the thick of it.

Jerry Kayne said:

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According to the Mayo Clinic , ulcerative colitis can be kept at bay by controlling your diet. But it can be inflamed (ouch) by stress. Enough said on that front (back).

The true test that he can take the Sopel role (that's what we're all hoping for right?), is the first time he lays down to block a Shea Weber slapper. I wish him the best of health. The only illness that may get more sympathy than ulcerative colitis is the Sammy Salo sack hit.

I was hoping Ethan Moreau would be packaged in the deal. Want to see something sad check the Oliers roster. They've already rounded out they're forwards (12 of them) with Taylor Hall and Colin Fraser. http://oilers.nhl.com/club/roster.htm

Stop the presses. In my research for this comment I found Moreau signed with Columbus, a lateral move.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Oops. the blog wouldn't take my Bit.ly shortened URL for the Mayo. Here it is if you want to read up on the other UC: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ulcerative-colitis/DS00598/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies. Good spam filter on this blog. Too bad it doesn't filter out the non-fans.

pilote3 said:

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Mike is Pisani a younger Madden?

beaverwarrior said:

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Looks like Mr. Huet is going to Switzerland....

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=536260

Jerry Kayne said:

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I hope Stan and Scotty write him a good reference letter.

borg said:

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Huet would reportedly only be loaned for one season, making keeping the Hawks on the hook for the 4th year of his deal unless he retires or gets loaned out again.

beaverwarrior said:

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There's a third option for that pesky third year. Buyout. Correct me if I'm wrong here. It will count for 1/2 of the salary against the cap.

On a happier note, my Beaver season tickets finally arrived!! Go Beavs!!

borg said:

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"Correct me if I'm wrong here. It will count for 1/2 of the salary against the cap."

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Not 100% positive, but it seems a buyout for Huet's 4th year would entail 2/3 of his yearly salary ($3,712,500) spread out over two years. Thus, the cap hit, I think, would be $1,856,250.

The Hawks certainly will want to save that nearly 2M for something else.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Huet seems like a very decent guy and I hope he benefits from a fresh start elsewhere, for away from the bitter shit storm he got here. I still believe he is a better goalie than he showed last year, but he had several chances that he was not able to make the most of. Being sick might have had something to do with it, but he was probably doomed the day he signed that big ass contract. In a cap constrained world, you must deliver commensurate with your pay in the eyes of the fans or they will eat you alive. Still nobody wants Niemi at 2.75 and he single handedly won a Stanley Cup. Interesting, No?

borg said:

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I'll guess I'll mention it here that top 10 prospect Brandon Pirri has signed a 3-year deal for just under $2 million total, and was told he'll go to Rockford if he doesn't make the Hawks.

That's 3 top prospects that have signed pro deals recently (Leddy, Pirri, Kruger). Plus, Morin signed shorty before being traded.

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