When the Senators sent longtime center Mike Fisher to Nashville last season, they did it on a road trip — meaning there was no opportunity for the Ottawa faithful to bid him farewell.
Because of that, there should be plenty of emotion on Thursday when Fisher returns to the Canadian capital.
“I’m excited, but a little nervous at the same time,” Fisher told the Globe and Mail. “I have so many great memories of my time in Ottawa. It’s going to be nice to see a lot of friends and the fans.”
Fisher played 675 games over 11 seasons for the Senators, emerging as a fan favorite. He was a key figure on the team that lost the 2007 Stanley Cup final to Anaheim and gave countless hours to charity — a big reason why Sens GM Bryan Murray was hesitant to pull the trigger on last February’s deal.
“It’s a tough trade for us. We know he’s been a good veteran here and he’s very popular with the fans,” Murray told James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen at the time of the deal. “He’s a very good guy, a very popular guy, very popular with his teammates. Obviously a big member of the community.
“A guy that, when you do it, you have feelings in the pit of your stomach that are upsetting that you have to, if you’re going to go forward, you have to do something of this magnitude.”
Murray also admitted that “three or four” teams inquired about Fisher, but he leaned towards Nashville because of Fisher’s wife, country music singer Carrie Underwood. It’s something Fisher’s very appreciative of.
“Nashville has been very good to me,” he said. “The trade was hard, but if I had to go anywhere this was a great place to go. The team and fans have been great.”
Speaking of great, that’s exactly what Fisher’s been lately. He comes into Ottawa having scored eight goals in his last eight games, during which Nashville has posted a 6-1-1 record, moving into a tie for fourth overall in the NHL.
Fisher leads the Preds in goals, with 16.