Joey Hishon: Long Road Leads to This

After haveing a career that was defined by injuries Joey Hishon finally broke the ice on Tuesday.  Hishon scored in the third period of a tied hockey game against Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.  The goal would turn out to be the game winner in a 3-2 Avalanche win.  Hishon was selected 17th overall in the 2010 draft by the Colorado Avalanche and it was a pick that surprised quite a few people.  Hishon’s hockey career was forever changed during the memorial cup in 2011.

The Hit and Concussions

In the 2011 Memorial cup Hishon was hit in the head by an elbow from Brayden McNabb of the Kootenay Ice.  The hit would sideline Hishon for the rest of that seasson and the entire length of the 2011-2012 season with concussion symptoms

For the 2012-2013 season Hishon played only nine games before suffering another concussion and did not play another game that season.

Return to Hockey

Hishon finally returned to normal play in the 2013-2014 season playing for the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Avalanche.  In that season Hishon would register 24 points in 50 games before being called up to play three playoff games for the Avalanche.

This season the Avalanche had a rough start that already has them eliminated from playoff contention following a season in which they won Central Division title with 112 points.  The Avalanche have had multiple call ups all season from the forwards, the defensive core, even the goaltenders.  Hishon was one of those call ups and in each of his 11 games played he has looked more and more comfortable.

First Career Goal

On Tuesday night the Avalanche started its last homestand of the season against the playoff bound Predators.  This game did not mean much to the Avalanche but they didn’t mail it in.  The Predators jumped out to a two goal lead which evaporated in nine seconds of game play.  As the teams entered the third period the game was tied at two and both teams were looking for a hero.

Hishon had several strong shifts in a row all over the ice and made his presense known.  It was later in the period that Hishon stripped the puck, brought the puck into the zone and cut towards the center of the ice.  Hishon let the puck fly from the top of the face off dots and beat Rinne clean.  It appeared that Rinne saw the shot but it still handcuffed him and found the twine.  No part of his first NHL goal was a gimmie or a lucky bounce.  It was a one on one wrister that beat Rinne clean.

Hishon threw himself into the glass in celebration as he was mugged by his teammates.  As hishon skated down the bench for the high fives Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog gave Hishon a face full of water that did not phase him at all in his excitment.

Hishon is a free agent at the end of this season and his play as of late has shown promise.  The Avalanche, like most teams, have many decisions to make over this off season.  It appears the Avalanche will have a pick in the top ten in this years draft and other players like Jan Hejda and Daniel Briere are free agents as well.  Hishon may still turn into the player the Avalanche wanted when they drafted him but that has yet to be seen.  Probably the best bet for the Avalanche isto explore signing Hishon to a deal of one, two or three years to see if he continues to develop into a player they want in the lineup.

Whatever happens with Hishon or the Avalanche in the weeks and months that come Hishon has finally scored in the NHL and that can never be taken away from him.  He has played in the NHL and after finally defeating his concussion symptoms Hishon is showing promise of being a player in this league full time.