Fisher still hopeful deal can be struck with NHL

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

TORONTO -- Somewhere in the Swiss Alps, Mike Fisher is waiting for the call to return to Canada. The Senators centre told the Sun yesterday from Zug, Switzerland that he believes the next "2-3 weeks" are key to getting a new collective bargaining agreement in place and saving the NHL season.

While the NHL Players' Association has denied it's going to make another offer before commissioner Gary Bettman pulls the plug on the 2004-05 campaign, Fisher thinks the union may have a final proposal up its sleeve.

"(An offer is) a possibility," said Fisher, who signed with Zug last month. "We want to do all we can do to try to play this year. We're not helping anybody by not playing hockey.

"Hopefully, we're going to see something happen here in the next couple of weeks. I only signed here until Dec. 12 because I want to see what happens. I'd be glad to go home and play again."

After starting the year in the failed Original Stars Hockey League, Fisher signed a short-term contract with Zug because he wanted to keep playing and saw no end to the deadlock.

Zug is coached by former 67's great Shawn Simpson, and Montreal Canadiens winger Oleg Petrov is among Fisher's teammates. Fisher, playing the wing, has five points in five games.

But the style of play has been an adjustment for Fisher. A hard-nosed centre in the NHL, Fisher can't throw his weight around because there's not the action along the boards that he's used to.

'PLAY IS A LOT FASTER'

"The game is different with the big ice surface and the play is a lot faster," said Fisher. "It's pretty good and it's been a lot of fun. There are a lot of NHL players over here, so the competition has been solid."

Fisher plans to return to Canada for Christmas. If there's no NHL settlement, he'll return to Zug in January.

"It just doesn't seem like much is going on. I check the (NHLPA's) website to see what is happening and there's not much there," said Fisher. "You have to think something has got to happen here in the next 2-3 weeks if there's going to be a season." 


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