Fisher grateful to carry Olympic torch

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Fisher hopes he doesn’t flame out carrying the Olympic torch through Gatineau Friday night.

“I’m going to have do some training this week. I haven’t run that far in a while,” the Senators centre joked about his 300-metre opportunity of a lifetime.

GM Bryan Murray gets his chance Saturday; on Monday it will be team president Cyril Leeder.

Fisher will become only the second NHLer to carry the Vancouver-bound torch after Sidney Crosby did the honours last month in his hometown of Cole Harbour, N.S.

A grateful Fisher didn’t think he’d ever get the chance.

“It’s an honour for me and it’s exciting,” said Fisher, who will receive the torch from the Preservation Centre at about 6:50 p.m. and carry it along du Carrefour Blvd. to the intersection of de la Cite Blvd.

Murray, who will receive the torch at 12:10 p.m. Saturday as the relay crosses the Alexandra Bridge to St. Patrick St., was surprised to be given the opportunity.

“I’m pleased and honoured to be one of a large team of people who have had the opportunity,” he said. “I take with pride that I’m able to participate. It’s a great event.”

Of course, Fisher wouldn’t mind seeing the Olympic torch again while suiting up for Team Canada in February. His strong play has certainly put him on the radar screen for executive director Steve Yzerman, but Fisher is realistic about his chances.

“It’d be a nice surprise if that (playing for Canada) ever happened, but I’m just focused on what I’ve got to do (with the Senators),” said Fisher. “It’s so hard to make the team. You never know really. I’m probably a longshot, but who knows?

With 13 goals, Fisher has already equalled his total from last season. He also has 12 assists in 28 games. He is skating better, shooting the puck more and, as always, is diligent in his own end.

“I feel like I’m playing pretty good and I’ve just got to keep that going,” said Fisher. “That’s kind of my focus. I’m not (worrying) about anything else right now.”

There was talk Yzerman was in the building Thursday night, but he was actually at home in Detroit flipping through channels on his hockey package.

Fisher, who is likely in competition for a spot with Flyers centre Mike Richards, said he isn’t sure if the fact he can play wing will help.

“I know I can play both. Maybe that helps, but who knows?” asked Fisher. “I just want to play as hard as I can.”

Have skates, will travel

New Philly coach Peter Laviolette has moved morning skates out of the Wachovia Center and into the Flyers’ practice facility in nearby Vorhees, N.J. “There are some things that we are working on with the power play and

5-on-3s that I’d rather do out there,” said Laviolette. Told some of the players would rather not travel out to the suburbs, Laviolette replied: “It wasn’t up for discussion.”

‘Tainted’ Flyers

Jeremy Roenick has ruffled feathers in Philly, telling TSN’s Off the Record he believes there’s a bad seed among his former team. “There’s somebody bad in that locker room,” he said. “Somebody is tainting something in that locker room, whether it’s the leadership, or somebody who is leading them the wrong way, or somebody who is doing something and other people are following off the ice.

"They need to straighten that stuff up inside the locker room.”

The retired Roenick later added he had no proof.

Pascal’s Ray of hope

Doctors will give G Pascal Leclaire another X-ray on his broken cheekbone next week. The hope is he will be cleared to practise. “Once he gets that, it’s only going to take a couple of days to get him ready (to return to the lineup),” said coach Cory Clouston.

That means Leclaire could return next Friday in New Jersey.

This ’n’ that

The Flyers must be looking to deal. There were nine scouts here Thursday night. “They’ve been following these guys for a while,” said a well-educated observer ... Hard to believe: Peter Laviolette has always employed a no-fighting rule and he’s now coaching the onetime Broad Street Bullies ... Yes, I looked both ways before crossing Arch St. I’m not as tough as Brendan Witt.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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