• PRINT
  • RSS

Spotlight on Joe Piskula

Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 10:51 AM CT / Features
By Jason Karnosky
X
Share with your Friends


Spotlight on Joe Piskula

On February 28, 2013 defenseman Joe Piskula enjoyed one of the rare moments sports—he got to return home to play professional hockey.

The Antigo, Wisconsin native, who spent the majority of six seasons in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs and Abbotsford Heat, was acquired by the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Brian McGrattan.

The move represented a return the state where Piskula started playing hockey and where he won a National Championship with the Wisconsin Badgers.

“It’s really nice to come back to Wisconsin,” Piskula said. “It’s a good feeling to be back here, close to Badgers fans, Packers fans, my family and friends. It was a really good move for me.”

That 2006 NCAA title game, Wisconsin’s 2-1 victory over Boston College, just happened to take place on the same BMO Harris Bradley Center ice that the former Badger stalwart now skates on every home date with the Admirals.

“When I won a title with Wisconsin that was one of my coolest hockey moments in my career and it’s something that you can’t replace,” Piskula said. “It’s really cool to be back here now that I’m playing in the rink where I won a National Championship in every home game.”

However, in Piskula Nashville acquired much more than just a native son with an impressive track record of playing hockey in Milwaukee. Instead, the Predators picked one of the AHL’s top defensive specialists, and defenseman ready to play a similar role in the NHL at a moment’s notice.

“Joe’s extremely close to being an NHL defenseman,” Admirals coach Dean Evason said. “If Nashville didn’t have as many young players on defense as they currently do, he likely would stick around with the Predators.”

Piskula was exactly what Nashville was looking for just a couple of weeks ago when the team lost both captain Shea Weber and fellow defender Kevin Klein to injury prior to a November 30 contest against Philadelphia. Piskula was called up and immediately inserted in the lineup for his first NHL contest with the Predators and his 11th game in the show overall.

“It had been two years almost to the day since I was last called up with Calgary, so it was a great experience to get back up there and play in the NHL,” Piskula said. “At my age, 29-years-old, I’m still developing and improving my game, so it was nice to see that people had noticed that and (were willing) to give me an opportunity to help Nashville.”

Piskula, and young Predators defense, served admirably in the game, helping Nashville earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss. Piskula more than held up his end of the bargain, finishing as a plus one.

"I thought we probably deserved a better fate," Nashville coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the game. "We played well enough (to win) with (our) young defense that played very well.”

Three nights later the 29-year-old saw just over 14 minutes of ice time in a 3-1 loss to Vancouver before returning to Milwaukee.

“We all know there is good opportunity up in Nashville and it makes us hungry to compete here in Milwaukee,” Piskula said. “At this level you have to be consistently at your best because you never know when that next NHL opportunity is going to come.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33