'Minor things' slow Fisher

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

At long last -- and likely on a couple of different fronts -- there will be some serious movin' and skakin' going down at Scotiabank Place Friday.

Exactly how one particular player is getting around will garner extra attention.

Early Friday afternoon, the Senators will pack their duffle bags and head to New York to begin the regular season vs. the Rangers -- ending Ottawa's longest off-season since 1996 at 175 sleeps.

Veteran forward Mike Fisher is expected to be ready, but as of Thursday, at least a shadow of a doubt was cast over his availability. Fisher missed practice and did not appear to be in his usual chipper mood when leaving the building.

"Minor things," he shrugged when asked why he was unable to participate in an extremely long (almost two hours) tuneup at the Kanata Recreation Complex ice surface. "Just making sure I'm ready for (tomorrow). Nothing serious."

The Senators hope not.

Meanwhile, getting ready to relocate is Christoph Schubert, who was placed on re-entry waivers Thursday. That means one team has likely indicated interest in claiming him (Phoenix and Nashville are possible suitors) and equally splitting his $900,000 (all terms US) salary with the Senators.

Ottawa would be left to absorb a cap hit of a bit less than $450,000 -- or $450,000 more than if Schubert stayed in the minors.

"I've just got to wait until (Friday)," Schubert said when asked if he knew his destination as he exited SBP. "Bryan Murray can't tell me (yet)."

Coach Cory Clouston had specifics he wanted to address in the last full on-ice session before the Senators tackle a Rangers team that kicks off its season tonight in Pittsburgh against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"We were on the ice for a lot longer than we normally would have been," said Clouston. "There were a few things 5-on-5 we wanted to get established. There were a couple of drills where we were making sure we had some presence at the net. But where we really wanted to focus was the power play."

To that end, it appears winger Alex Kovalev will see some time on the point.

Clouston also acknowledged the players are anxious to get going.

"It's been a long camp .... from our last game until (the opener) will end up being eight days," he said. "It would have been nice to have a game in between then.

"We wanted to make sure the guys were sharp mentally, and I think we've accomplished that."

Defenceman Chris Phillips said the players are "upbeat" and "pretty excited to have the season start."

He denied the notion there's a different feeling coming off a season in which the Senators missed the playoffs -- a feeling many of them had never experienced.

"I think it's the same as every year, really," said Phillips. "Once the middle of August comes, you start skating, get back into it. Obviously, you want to get back out there and show everybody what we believe we're capable of doing, and getting back into the post season.

"At this time of year, you get excited."


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