Joni Pitkanen’s comeback ends after three games

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Joni Pitkanen’s long road back to playing professional hockey ended on Thursday after three games with Oulun Karpat, his hometown club in Finland where he played before coming to the NHL in 2003.

The 32-year-old defenseman suffered a serious foot injury in April 2013 during a game with the Carolina Hurricanes. That was the last time he was on the ice until he signed on with Karpat for the rest of the Liiga season earlier this month.

Pitkanen played three games for Karpat, scoring once, but the foot issues that lingered during his three years away from the game returned and are the reason why he’s ending his comeback.

"The foot simply did not cope. It's likely I will never play again,” Pitkanen said.

It was clear in his short time back on the ice that the smooth-skating Pitkanen had returned to form. "No one skates like him. How can he play that well?” Karpat head coach Lauri Marjamäki said after Pitkanen’s second game.

If only his foot issues would have cleared up, the second chapter of his career could have been a memorable one.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!