Fisher, Underwood back in Ottawa

Nashville Predators Mike Fisher celebrates his game-winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks with...

Nashville Predators Mike Fisher celebrates his game-winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammate Ryan Suter during the third period of their NHL game in Vancouver, B.C., Dec. 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

OTTAWA - This is not just another game for Mike Fisher.

“It’ll be a special game for me,” said the former Senators centre in a telephone interview from Nashville.

He was a heart and soul player for Ottawa but when the rebuild shifted into high gear last spring, Fisher was one of the players sent packing, dealt to the Predators in exchange for a No. 1 pick and a conditional pick this year.

Almost a year to the day he was traded on Feb. 12, 2011, Fisher makes his return to Scotiabank Place wearing a Nashville uniform. Among the fans on hand will be Fisher’s wife/singer Carrie Underwood and his family.

“When the schedule came out this summer, I knew one of the games was going to be going there this year,” said Fisher. “I looked at the date. It’s only a day off (of the one year anniversary of the trade).

“It has gone fast. That’s for sure. When I got traded, I got here, we were in the thick of a playof race and then the playoffs. It’s been nice to have a full season with the same group. I’ve felt more of a part of it this year.”

The transition to Nashville was smooyh Fisher. A Peterborough native, he called Ottawa his “second home” but he’d spent lots of time in the off-season in the area with Underwood so he knew where he was going.

Sources say the Senators had better offers from the Los Angeles Kings and the Rangers, but wanted to do Fisher a favour. He’d been good soldier so owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray wanted to make sure he was comfortable. Fisher said that didn’t make it easy.

“It was tough,” he said. “That first little while was strange. I had been in Ottawa for so long. You’re comfortable with the guys, the team, your house ... just everything and that all changes in the matter of a day.

“That being said, if I was going to be traded anywhere, there was no better spot than Nashville. The transition was easy. It’s still hard to leave a place that you really love and all your friends. But, it’s worked out the way it was supposed to and I’m really enjoying it.”

The trade has allowed Fisher and Underwood, who were married in July, 2010, to end their long distance relationship that had them flying between cities to get time together.

“We had gotten used to travelling on off-days to see each other so it was fine. That was just something we did and we made it work,” said Fisher.

“This year, she hasn’t really been travelling so we’ve gotten a chance to spend a lot of time with each other and now it’s like, ‘How did we do it before?’”

On the ice, Fisher hasn’t missed a beat. His goal in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Canucks Tuesday was his eighth in eight games for the Predators. He has helped Nashville get to another level and is enjoying the ride.

“We’ve got a young team but we’re having a lot of success,” said Fisher.

Fisher is hopeful he’ll get a nice reception from Ottawa hockey fans and he certainly should. There isn’t any reason to jeer Fisher. He never asked for a trade.

“We’re not there that often. (The family) wanted to be there and be part of it,” said Fisher. “I hope it’s all good. The fans were great to me. The time I spent there, they treated pretty well and I appreciated them.

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans. It will be different.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


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