Posted on October 1, 2009
When the Ottawa Senators take to the ice Saturday night to open the 2009-2010 season Mike Fisher will be entering his 10th season in the league.
It's hard to believe that ten years have already passed since Fisher first made the team right out of junior hockey.
While making the NHL was an amazing accomplishment Fisher's first season wasn't without its ups and downs.
Fisher scored his first career goal October 31, 1999 against the Atlanta Thrashers, but his season was cut short after suffering a knee injury December 30 that would require surgery.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Fisher. "Time has flown by. I feel so blessed to have played here my whole career. It doesn't happen too often."
The next few years weren't very easy for Fisher as he suffered more injuries.
"Those first few years were a bit of a struggle because of the injuries," said Fisher. "It really makes you appreciate what you've got because you know you might just be one injury away."
Fisher admits making the transition from junior hockey to the pro's was quite exciting. Gone were the long bus rides and pre-game meals at roadside restaurants. Instead he suddenly found himself flying to each new destination and staying in some of North America's finest hotels.
"My first year we still flew on some commercial flights and then we started having private charters which is pretty amazing," Fisher said. You start to get pretty spoiled."
When Fisher first joined the Senators the team was just starting to become one of the elite organizations of the Northeast Division. The Senators went on to become perennial playoff favorites, but it wasn't until 2007 that the Senators finally reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Senators ended up losing the Final to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in five games.
"The run to the Cup was such a highlight," said Fisher. "It's pretty hard to beat that. The buzz around the city was amazing and I really hope to have the chance to do it again. The run is so hard, but it's so exciting."
At 29 Fisher is hoping he'll still have a few more opportunities to raise hockey's Holy Grail and it starts Saturday as the Senators visit Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers in the season opener.