REGINA -- Mike Fisher doesn't need a letter to be a leader.
But the Senators centre has taken notice of the 'A' he's been awarded by coach Cory Clouston during his first two games of the pre-season. Whether it's there to stay won't be decided until the end of camp, but Fisher is the perfect candidate to replace the departed Dany Heatley.
“It’s nice to be wearing a letter and to be relied upon,” said Fisher, who scored a hat trick in the Ottawa’s 6-1 victory over the Habs on Saturday. “I want to step my game up and be more of a leader. I haven’t had a letter at all in the past and I don’t think you ever need one.
“The guys we’ve got on this team, guys like (Shean Donovan) and (Alexei Kovalev), guys who have played a lot of games, they don’t wear a letter and they contribute and bring so much to the table. That’s what makes a good team, everyone coming together and bringing little things to the table.”
While it’s believed Heatley felt he needed a letter and may have requested an ‘A’ when former coach Craig Hartsburg took over last summer, Fisher isn’t the type to get caught up in that kind of debate. If it doesn’t happen, his role on the team won’t change.
“He’s definitely a leader in this dressing room,” said winger Chris Neil. “He’s a guy that puts his body on the line, game in and game out. That says a lot. If you look back, (captain Daniel Alfredsson) leads by example and I think Fish does the same thing.
“Whoever ends up wearing it, it doesn’t matter. We’ve all been around long enough to step up and do our thing the way we have to do (it) in this dressing room. Everybody leads a different way. It doesn’t matter who is wearing that stuff, but if that’s the case (and Fisher wears it full-time), it’s great for Mike and he’s earned it.”
Off the glass
F Jesse Winchester, who hurt Friday against the Habs, will be out at least three weeks with what coach Cory Clouston described as a lower- body injury. While Clouston wouldn’t disclose the injury, Winchester appeared to be limping as he left the rink. “I don’t know exactly what it is,” said Clouston. D Anton Volchenkov, who left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, was back on the ice yesterday for practice at the Bell Sensplex ... Senators D Jared Cowen, the No. 1 pick in the June draft, will get a chance to play close to home tonight at the Brandt Centre. The Saskatoon native expects to have plenty of family and friends at the rink. “It’s close enough,” said Cowen. “It’s not even three hours away from Saskatoon. I’ll get to see a lot of family and friends, so hopefully I will play well.” Cowen is expected to be returned to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs following the game, but he will be able to leave pleased with the way he performed in camp. He is fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered in January and this will be his second exhibition game. “This has been great. I’ve learned the everyday routine it takes to be a (pro) player,” said Cowen. “It’s a lot of faster at this level and this is definitely going to help me.” ... G Brian Elliott will make the start tonight and is expected to play the full 60 minutes with G Mike Brodeur dressing as the backup. No. 1 G Pascal Leclaire didn’t make the trip and will be in the net for the Senators’ final exhibition game Friday against the Bruins at Scotiabank Place. The Lightning, meanwhile, won’t dress Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis or top pick Victor Hedman, who was taken No. 2 overall in June’s draft.