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Pitkanen worthy of early praise

Rookie defenseman Joni Pitkanen knows he's got plenty still to learn about the NHL.

Updated: January 30, 2004, 5:42 PM ET
By Rob Parent | Special to ESPN.com

Contrary to popular Philadelphia opinion, Joni Pitkanen isn't such a Finn-ished product, after all.

Oh, he's pretty far advanced for a rookie. Calm with the puck. Smooth on his skates. Passes like a pro. But the defenseman, who is barely out of his teens yet represents the Flyers' best offensive threat from the blue line since Eric Desjardins was a young Montreal import, is far from perfect.

Fortunately, he's quite aware of that.

"I think it's been good so far," said Pitkanen, ...

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