Are the Senators trying to move struggling forward Mike Fisher?

Trade rumors sure can be fun sometimes. They happen all the time and they’re worth scoping out when they involve a player with some usefulness.

Entering the fray this time around is Ottawa center Mike Fisher. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun did his part to sniff around to see if there’s interest out there in the wildly underperforming pivot and as the rumor-friendly reporter was able to discover, there’s some talk out there that the Senators are dangling Fisher.

The Senators are casting about to see what they can get for Mike Fisher.

But with the 30-year-old armed with a no-movement clause and two years left on his contract carrying a cap hit of $4.2 million, two league executives seriously doubt he’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.

“I know teams have called and I’m sure they’re just trying to shake things up a bit in Ottawa,” said a league executive. “But I don’t see it. He’s having a bad year. He’s not the only one on that team.”

While Fisher had a career year last season scoring 25 goals and 28 assists, he’s finding out that statistical regression to the mean is a real buzzkill scoring just 13 goals and eight assists good for 21 points in 49 games this year. That kind of poor production is reserved for third liners but on a bad Senators team perhaps he’s just reflecting the problems around him.

Fisher can be a capable second line center and luckily for him there are a couple of teams that could use a guy like that in Los Angeles and Washington. While those teams could certainly use a player like that, the asking price for him at the moment would likely not be be worth the hassle. The other problem with Fisher comes in the form of  a $4.2 million cap hit that goes through until 2012-2013. Giving up the sort of package the Senators would be looking for for a player with poor production and a bloated cost doesn’t likely make sense for either of those teams unless a similarly bloated deal goes back in return.

Still, if it’s a change of scenery that Fisher needs to snap out of his funk, you couldn’t ask for a better situation than either L.A. or D.C. for both him and his superstar wife Carrie Underwood. If you don’t think they’d enjoy the spotlight of either of those cities then you’re not too familiar with how tabloids work. Whether or not shining a brighter spotlight on that celebrity couple would help Fisher’s game or not would make for one heck of a trial by fire.

Animal activists protest Ducks’ Stoner over grizzly bear hunt

Keith Fialcowitz

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center on Monday night to call for the suspension of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada of illegally obtaining a license to shoot a grizzly bear.

While Ducks fans entered the rink for their home opener against Vancouver, about 20 protesters held signs and shouted slogans condemning Stoner. He faces five charges related to the 2013 hunt on British Columbia’s central coast.

“Killing is not a sport! Play a real sport!” the protesters shouted in unison. “Shame on the Ducks!”

Judie Mancuso, the president of Social Compassion in Legislation, compared Stoner to quarterback Michael Vick and Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, whose killing of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe sparked an international outcry.

“The entire globe is against trophy hunting right now,” Mancuso said. “If most of these hockey fans understood that was the issue, I think most of them would be on our side.”

Wildlife groups and First Nations leaders have been outraged by Stoner’s killing of the bear, named Cheeky. Stoner defended his actions at the time when graphic photos of the kill were publicized, but he hasn’t commented recently.

The protesters were serenaded by chants of Stoner’s name by many fans, while others stopped to look at the signs. Mancuso said her group hopes to raise awareness of Stoner’s legal troubles.

“If people didn’t have outrage with the NFL, Michael Vick would have gotten away with it,” Mancuso said. “The only way that anything is going to happen is if we do this. If there’s not public outcry, nothing is going to happen, so we’ve got to try.”

Stoner grew up on Vancouver Island, but hasn’t lived in the province full-time for several years, which authorities say made him ineligible for the hunting license used to take the bear. He played for the Minnesota Wild at the time of the shooting.

Stoner faces two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license and one count apiece of hunting without a license, hunting out of season and unlawful possession of dead wildlife. His case is set for Nov. 13 in Vancouver.

The 30-year-old Stoner was in the Ducks’ lineup for their home opener, and he fought Brandon Prust in the opening minutes. Stoner is beginning his sixth full NHL season and his second with Anaheim after signing a four-year, $13 million deal as a free agent before last season.

Related: Ducks d-man Stoner charged with unlawful grizzly bear hunt

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings face Lightning in ’15 playoff rematch

Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
AP Photo

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.

The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.

After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.

Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.

As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.

The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.