Joni Pitkanen, who suffered a serious injury over two years ago that was thought to have ended his career, will continue to make his comeback bid as he starts to practice with Kärpät Oulu in the Finnish Liiga, according to iltasanomat.fi. He joins the team today for his first practice, according to Szymon Szemberg.
Pitkanen was rumored to be attempting a comeback over the summer. Now he’s entered the next phase of that plan.
Pitkanen shattered his heel in an icing race that was a big part of why the league moved to hybrid icing instead of touch icing. The injury, suffered about two and a half years ago, was thought to have likely ended his career. 14 months after the injury, Pitkanen still couldn’t even get his foot into an ice skate.
Considering the extent of the injury, even practicing with a team seems like a major accomplishment for Pitkanen.
The 32-year-old Finnish defenseman has played nine NHL seasons, covering 535 career games split between Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers and Hurricanes. He scored 57 goals and 225 assists in that span.
Watch the play that kept Pitkanen out for the last two and a half years below.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.