Last month, Mike Fisher carried the torch for Canada.
Today, he'll find out if he'll get a chance to follow it into the Olympic stadium.
Don't blame Fisher if he's waiting by his phone for a call from Team Canada's executive director Steve Yzerman this morning. The 29-year-old Fisher is really hoping to be part of the 23-man roster that will compete for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver in February.
With Yzerman set to name a roster with 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders, sources say Fisher, who has 15 goals and 16 assists in 37 games this season, is one of seven players on the bubble battling for two or three spots on the roster. While Yzerman won’t make his list public until noon, he will call players between 10 and 11:45 a.m. to congratulate them.
“I’m pretty excited, obviously. It would be a dream come true to be named,” said Fisher. “The games have been played and I’ve just got to approach it like it would definitely be a bonus to be named. If not, that is fine as well.
“It’s been a good start for me, but at the same time I’ve got to make sure I’m getting better throughout the season and focusing on my job here. I’ve given myself a chance. It’s definitely an honour to be considered or even to be asked about it for sure.”
A league executive told the Sun yesterday that Fisher is in a group of players battling for fourth-line spots. That group includes Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Philly’s Mike Richards, L.A.’s Ryan Smyth, Phoenix’ Shane Doan and Dallas’ Brenden Morrow.
“(Fisher’s) on the bubble,” said the executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He’s got a shot. But, even if he doesn’t make it (today), he’s got to keep working hard because there could be injuries.”
Fisher, who played for Canada at the world championship last spring in Zurich, doesn’t have the pedigree of some players, but he’s had a very good season so far — the Senators’ best player on most nights.
“Fish has been unbelievable for us. He’s been great game in and game out. I don’t know what’s gotten into him,” said Fisher’s close friend, winger Chris Neil, with a laugh. “He’s a guy that shows up ready to play every game. He didn’t get rewarded last year with the points, but his effort was there.
“The effort is there this year and he’s getting rewarded with some points. He’s being talked about, so it shows he’s in an elite class. (Canada) has probably got two or three teams (that could) go to the Olympics and be competitive. Mike is just a guy who goes under the radar. He gets under-appreciated sometimes. A lot of teams look for players like that.”
Still, nobody was talking about Fisher and Team Canada in the same breath at the start of the season.
“Offensively, this is obviously my best start,” he said. “I’ve been given more of an offensive role. In years past, I’ve been kind of pigeon-holed as more of a third-line checker. I feel like I had a good training camp and the puck has been going in for me.
“I’ve already surpassed last year (when he had 13 goals and 19 assists). It’s one of those things where it’s just going in for me. Last year, it didn’t matter what I did, I just couldn’t get any bounces. I’m just trying to play an all-around solid game and do what I can to be considered.”