Paul Bissonnette was picked in the fourth round (121st overall) in the 2003 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix enforcer and part-time NHLer Paul Bissonnette has five goals and eight points in 135 career NHL games and is more known for his Twitter antics than his hockey highlights.
But perhaps no more. For the duration of the lockout, BizNasty has signed on with the Cardiff Devils of the Elite Ice Hockey League in Britain, the actual eliteness of which is relative. Through nine games in Britain, Bissonnette has already surpassed his career totals in NHL offense though his penalty minutes have decreased – and at an alarming rate – to only four.
Bissonnette scored his first goal just 72 seconds into his British career and also in his first game in front of the hometown Cardiff fans, the video of which can be seen below. While most teams have played 27 or 28 games, Bissonnette’s late start means he’s not close to the league leaders, despite a points per game average that suggests he would if he had been there from the start. But he’s probably used to playing in only a limited amount of games.
At 14-9-1-3, Cardiff is the fifth-best team in the British League and is home to the league’s leading scorer, Mac Faulkner, who has 44 points in 27 games.
The capital of Wales, Cardiff’s top hockey team has been around since 1986 and has been in the EIHL since its formation in 2003 after the Ice Hockey Superleague, Britain’s former top circuit, folded. The Devils haven’t won a league playoff championship under the EIHL banner, but won four times (1990, 1993, 1994 and 1999) before. Rivals of the Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers, Cardiff has qualified for at least the semifinal each year since 2003, but didn’t win a title in the span, dropping the 2010 final to the Belfast Giants in a shootout.
The team made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for a 22-game winning streak in the 2010-11 season.
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