All Things Hockey In The Carolinas

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Farewell to Colesy, Hello Joni

I'd been clamoring for some kind of news out of the Hurricanes, well that clam opened up big time today. I've had some time to sit a spell and do some research on Pitkanen and think about the proper send-off for #26.

Erik Cole, from his 2002 rookie year until April of '08, was a true power forward. From his legendary days with the BBC Line, to his extremely frightening and career dangering neck injury, to his triumphant return in games 6 & 7 before the Cup win and through last season - you couldn't have asked for a classier guy.

Whether he was charging up the ice or laying out the opposition, living a quiet Southern lifestyle or raising money for his home town's library; Cole was the player that you could always look to set the example.

Caniac Nation will certainly miss him but the timing was right and the situation was necessary for him to move on. Take care up there, Erik.

I'm sure that there is a near-endless amount of clips to choose from, but I'm picking this one as his C.O.I. swan song:

On to Joni Pitkanen.

Is it pronounced "Yo - nee"? I heard a radio talking head say it as "Yanni" today. Let's hope it's not "Yawn-nee".

Covered In Oil offered a pseudo-scouting report on him in their post the other day after speculating that he might indeed be traded:

"Joni Pitkanen is probably gone, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Actually, wait, no, I really love somewhat chaotic, flaky Finnish defenceman, especially 24-year-old ones who are capable of skating an entire lap with three effortless, platonic strides. " - DMFB

Back in 2003, The Sporting News had this to say on the budding young Finn:

" His ability to handle physical play is a concern. He has had shoulder and knee surgeries and will have to shake off a reputation of being injury-prone. "He can be overaggressive sometimes and take risks that don't work," says the scout. His shot has force but is not very accurate." - Kara Yario

I'm gonna have to trust in my boy Jimmy on this one. Judging from his propensity to scout and eventually sign former Philadelphia Flyers, he's obviously had his eye on Pitkanen for quite some time. Oh yeah, and he's an offensive defenseman - in case you haven't heard. My main concern is bringing in another injury-riddled player after what the Canes have been through in the past two seasons especially.

I do think that he will be a good compliment to one Joseph Corvo seeing as Joni shoots left and Corvo right. He should also be a good compliment to the suddenly very Euro-friendly Hurricanes squad. Only time will tell.

UPDATE: per TSN, Joni Pitkanen is signed to a 3 year deal, total of $12 Million. About as close as expected. He's now our highest paid defenseman, BTW.