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Report: Carolina’s Pitkanen (heel) not close to returning

Aug 5, 2014, 10:19 PM EDT

pitkanengetty Getty Images

Joni Pitkanen missed all of last season recovering from a severely broken heel, and it doesn’t sound as though the recuperation process has advanced much.

In a brief interview with Finnish news outlet Kaleva, Pitkanen said he’s a “long way” from returning to play, noting that the injury hasn’t shown much improvement and he also hasn’t resumed skating.

This development comes as a bit of a surprise. In March, a statement — which seemed totally unprompted — was released by the ‘Canes on Pitkanen’s behalf, the first real comment issued by the Finn since shattering his heel in a game against Washington in April of ’13:

“I’ve been working with Raleigh Orthopaedic throughout this season with the hope of returning to play hockey. There is no timetable as of now, but I’ve been making progress with my rehab and it remains my goal to resume my professional hockey career.

“It’s been frustrating to be away from the ice, but I want to thank all of the people who have expressed support throughout the season.”

Further compounding Pitkanen’s situation is the fact his three-year, $13.5 million deal with Carolina expired on July 1, meaning he’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

  1. storminator16 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:01 AM

    Even in the statements the Canes released with the aforementioned quotes from Pitkanen, the organization has painted a cautious picture. “Hope” is a word used from time-to-time but common sense says it is doubtful he will play again. Every report out of Finland for the past 2 years has stated either Pitkanen can’t put much pressure (if any at all) on the foot and he hasn’t resumed skating.

    Its a shame because, contrary to popular belief, he was very good defenseman and was the Canes best at the time of his injury. His loss exposed the Canes defensive depth the past 2 seasons.

    • esracerx46 - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      I don’t know of many that thought Pitkanen was bad. He was a very solid defenseman.

  2. esracerx46 - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Shattered heel. Let that resonate. If that doesn’t work, do a google image search. That ought get your breakfast churning. When injuries as grim as these happen, you hear the doctors and teams hopeful. A lot of times that’s for the better good of the player. They know his chances of playing are bleak, but keep dangling that carrot in front of him. Keep him optimistic and their might be a chance.

    Good luck Joni!

    • bravesfan1966 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      THERE, not THEIR, might be a chance, esracerx…sheesh!!

      • i1theinternet - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        dude. if you spend any time at all reading comments sections on the Intraweb, you’ll see “there”, “their”, and (most painfully) “they’re” used interchangably. get used to it.

      • storminator16 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Especially since there isn’t an edit functionality to go back to clean up any mistakes after proofreading them. Relax, bravesfan1966, it is just the Internet.

  3. deeboy - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Tough break for the Canes defense (literally and figuratively). Despite drifting off into Joni-land from time to time, he ate up a ton of minutes and provided quality two-way play. His injury was Exhibit A for hybrid icing being implemented. Too bad that it took a career-ending injury to put that rule into place.

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