The Nashville Predators will finally get Mike Fisher back in the lineup tonight when they face the San Jose Sharks.
Fisher, who underwent shoulder surgery following last year's playoff run, has been patiently, but anxiously waiting for clearance to play and when he received the news Monday afternoon from team doctors he couldn't have been happier.
"I feel good, I feel confident," said Fisher. "I've waited a long time and we wanted to make sure I was strong enough."
Despite the injury Fisher has maintained his conditioning. He's been skating since August and taking shots in practice and feels more than ready for the rigours of the game.
"I'll continue to do therapy for months," said Fisher. "I've taken some hits in practice, but it will feel good to take one in a game and then not have to think about it anymore."
The 31-year-old expects to play on a line with Sergei Kostitsyn and Craig Smith and is hopeful he and his linemates will be able to contribute.
Last season Fisher played 27 regular season games and had five goals and 12 points for the Predators and while he would love to produce offensively for now he's just looking forward to being a part of the team on a daily basis.
"When you're out of the lineup you don't totally feel like your part of the team," Fisher said. "I want to battle with these guys. I'm looking forward to it."
In addition to Fisher the Predators will also welcome back defenceman Francis Bouillon.
“Number one, (Fisher and Bouillon) have to just get back comfortable playing the game of hockey,” Trotz said. “They haven’t played in a long time. The train is moving and they’re sort of at a standstill. Both of them missed training camp. Both of them have skated on their own, practiced a little bit. But for the most part, it’s not the same. They are both veteran guys who will play a smart, simple game and not try to do too much. Both of them have worked extremely hard to get to a point to jump back in the lineup.”
Fisher plans on keeping things fairly simple for his first game back.
"I feel good, so hopefully it won't be too bad," said Fisher. "I have a feeling there will be a little bit of timing to deal with, but overall things should be good."