Sens privy to band of brothers

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:01 PM ET

Of the thousands upon thousands of fans to catch world-renowned acts taking centre stage at Scotiabank Place every year, only a small, select group has had the privilege of watching this dynamic duo perform regularly in one of the arena's underground rooms.

No, not Eminem and Jay Z, or even Simon and Garfunkel. 

We're talking Fisher and Foligno.

"We were like a duet," says Senators winger Nick Foligno, harkening back to the days he teamed with Mike Fisher off the ice before the latter was transferred to Nashville. "A pretty annoying duet, but we were a duet."

Fisher, who married a darn good singer in her own right, provided lead vocals. They say he could really Carrie a tune. Easily the best crooner on the club. Foligno, who suited up in the closest kitty corner stall to his collaborator, would provide backup. 

"It was pretty much just country, but we did some Top 20 hits, too," says Foligno, gleaming. "We threw in a little bit of Rihanna, here and there. We'd get down and funky with it."

Their audience was generally restricted to teammates.

"Just whoever wanted to listen, which was nobody," says Foligno. "So usually it was just Fish and I. Getting ready for practice, we'd be singing along to whatever music was on.

"I'm sure guys got dressed a lot faster when we started singing."

This career of Foligno's began in his elementary and middle school days.

"I was in choir," he says. "It was more for the girls, though. All the girls were in choir. So why not be in choir? I don't care. It was awesome."

Trying to find another Senator with musical talents is tough. One of them played the tuba in school, but refused to give permission for his identity to be revealed here. Another traded forward, Alex Kovalev, tinkled the piano keys.

"He wasn't bad," says defenceman Brian Lee. "The guy does it all."

Rookie Colin Greening plays guitar, but he wasn't about to squeeze it in his hockey bag for trips to and from Binghamton. Besides, he says, the real stringer in the organization is Craig Schira, a 22-year-old D-man with the farm team from Spiritwood, Sask. 

"He's awesome," says Greening. "He tried out for a band. The thing about him, he can pick up songs by listening to them.

"I jammed out with him a few times. I sing every now and then."

Can you hold a note?

"I'm all right," he says. "I think I think I'm better than I probably am."

Greening, a Newfoundlander, naturally claims Great Big Sea as his favorite band. If ever there was a team vote on what to play over the dressing room speakers, the genre of choice would be country music.

"Kenny Chesney," says winger Bobby Butler, "is (ital) the man. (end ital)."

Butler has seen the man in concert the last three summers. He listens to Chesney's music before games.

"It somehow pumps me up," says the rookie. "Not in here. In my room. On the way to the rink. In my car."

Lee has a rotation of four songs he listens to on the way to a game -- three country tunes, including Big And Rich's Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy, and one rap, All of the Above, by T-Pain.

"It's too far before the game to get all jacked up," he says. "But it kind of gets you in the right mindset, (that) it's time to go to work now. 

"I like country music the best," adds Lee. "I've been to quite a few shows. Toby Keith was great. I saw him a couple of times. Keith Urban was really good. Rascal Flatts. Brooks and Dunn ... a lot of good country acts. I like country concerts."

One Senator who doesn't go for country music at all is Zack Smith, which is a little surprising given that he's from Saskatchewan.

"One of the few from back home who doesn't," he says. "It's just not my style. I like rock, big fan of the grunge era, late '80s, early '90s."

That would suggest Smith has had the opportunity to practise the physical style of play he brings to a game at a concert.

"The front row of Pearl Jam concert," he says, "is the closest I've been to a mosh pit."

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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