Fisher sums up Sens' struggles

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- Mike Fisher hasn't been himself lately.

The way Senators GM Bryan Murray sees it, that's why Fisher, a heart-and-soul type of guy, has gone 10 games without a goal and five games without a point.

Fisher is also minus-7 in the last four games.

"Mike Fisher has to be Mike Fisher," said Murray, taking in practice from the stands at Scotiabank Place yesterday morning.

"All Mike has to do is use his speed and play the way Mike Fisher can play. Without the puck, be really good. With the puck, get it deep and forecheck."

For Murray, who helped the Senators battle out of an early-season funk as coach last year, Fisher's struggles are representative of what happens when a team slumps.

The Senators have lost three straight going into tonight's meeting with the Islanders.

"That's what happens when a team is not going great," said Murray. "Guys who are really important to the team in certain roles get out of those roles trying to score. Play within the system and goals will happen for you."

You can throw Antoine Vermette into that mix, too.

He has just one assist in his last eight games.

NICK'S BACK: W Nick Foligno was called up yesterday from Binghamton of the AHL and admits he didn't know what he had 'til it was gone. "I got on the bus (in Binghamton) and said, 'Oh, this is different.' I was too spoiled," he said of the Senators' first-class travel he experienced during the club's first 17 games. "I'm glad they had the confidence to call me up. It's kind of like a second chance." Senators coach John Paddock said the jury is still out on what Foligno can be, a third-liner, first-liner or somewhere in between. He has to play a simple game to be effective. "We've stressed that to him. There's no reason he can't do it, but it doesn't mean he's going to do it." Foligno had five assists in six games with Bingo ... With Foligno on the way up, the Senators sent W Alexander Nikulin back to the farm yesterday.

REVELATIONS: The Islanders have surprised some with their 12-8-1 start. Not Senators F Randy Robitaille, who played with the Islanders last year. "Everything starts from the goal on out and they've got a good one in Rick DiPietro," he said, also crediting the work of coach Ted Nolan. "Teddy got in there last year and did a great job of turning things around. A lot of people said they overachieved last year and that was pretty thrilling making the playoffs in the shootout against the Devils. I'm not as surprised by their start like a lot of people would be." ... DiPietro's importance is highlighted by the fact the Islanders have scored two goals or less in their last nine games and yet are 4-4-1.

SPECULATIONS: The Senators' penalty killing shut out the Flyers on Saturday after giving up at least one power-play goal in eight-straight games. The Islanders' power play, meanwhile, finally scored in the loss to Dallas on Monday. The Islanders have scored just four power-play goals in their last 12 games (4-for-47). Somebody's going to have a good night, huh? ... Senators D Joe Corvo left practice yesterday, but Paddock said he will play tonight. That's good. Corvo had two goals and two assists in four games last year against the Isles and had a team-best plus-5 ... Former Senator C Mike Comrie signed with the Isles as a free agent, eliminating one of his favourite opponents. He had four points in two games against the Isles last year.

TWO MINUTES WITH RAY: Senators G Ray Emery, tonight's starter, was asked yesterday about Paddock's comment a while back about not liking Emery's practice habits (Emery wasn't the only player singled out), which caught Emery a little bit by surprise. "That's the first time I've heard it," he said. "It's just been a different year for me. I hope I can get better in practice if that's how he feels." ..Emery was also asked if losing the starter's job to Martin Gerber and not playing much had made him "cranky." "Maybe at the rink a bit," he said. "I tend to leave things here. I'm still chillin' at home, but around here it's kind of different for me."


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