Joni Pitkanen suffered a brutal injury to his heel during the 2012-13 season when he was racing back to complete an icing call against the Washington Capitals. Pitkanen lost his balance and crashed awkwardly into the boards, breaking his left heel bone. The injury was significant enough to force Pitkanen to miss the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately, it appears the injury will have long-term effects. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford announced that Pitkanen will miss the entire 2013-14 season due to the injury he suffered last season. Other reports suggest the injury is so bad that Pitkanen's career might be over.
Been told that Pitkanen's injury is so bad that his career is most likely over.
— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerHockey) September 11, 2013
Though this second report isn't confirmed, it's fair to speculate that Pitkanen's career might be over. If it's serious enough for the Hurricanes to announce he'll miss all of 2013-14 as training camp starts, it might be serious enough to force the 29-year-old defenseman out of hockey.
Video of Pitkanen's injury from April of last season.
What an extremely sad story. Pitkanen's injury happened on a fairly routine race to touch the puck on an icing call. As a result, there's been a serious push across the NHL to adopt a hybrid or some form of no-touch icing in order to prevent injuries like this one in the future. If this is the end of the road for Pitkanen, let's hope it at least brings about a change in the NHL.