Pat Peake is optimistic that Joni Pitkanen will get back to playing hockey effectively after breaking his left heel bone, based on his history and what he knows of the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman’s injury.
The ex-Washington Capitals center suffered a broken right calcaneus bone in 1996 that essentially ended his NHL career. Last week after Pitkanen was injured on a similar icing play, Peake got a call from North Carolina and had Carolina assistant coach Dave Lewis, Pitkanen and the training staff on speakerphone on the other end.
“We kind of just went through the whole process,” Peake said. “I said to Pitkanen and that group there that I was speaking with; first and foremost I said obviously you want to get back to being a normal human being. Still to this day I can’t walk the length of the mall.”
Peake played just five more games after his heel bone broke in 14 places and twisted. Pitkanen’s broke in eight places but didn’t move, Peake said. That’s considered a positive.
“Your heel bone, the best way to describe it is like an egg. So if you give it a good flick or a thump, it just kind of splinters and cracks like that,” Peake said. “And it just goes right around the whole way. That’s exactly what happened to his. It’s such an odd injury.”
Peake said it’s an injury common to construction workers who fall from two or three stories and people in car accidents who slam on the brakes. In hockey, Peake was the prime example before Pitkanen.