For 11 seasons Mike Fisher was a fan favourite in Ottawa and Thursday Fisher makes his return to the nation's capital for the first time since being traded to the Nashville Predators.
Strangely enough Fisher makes his return to Ottawa nearly one year to the day of the trade. Fisher was sent to Nashville February 10th, 2011.
With the Senators in a downward spiral changes were imminent, but no one anticipated this trade and at the time Senators general manager Bryan Murray even admitted it wasn't something he really wanted to do.
Murray made the trade with Nashville in an effort to soften the blow seeing as Fisher's wife, country singer Carrie Underwood, called the music city home and this would finally allow the newlyweds to spend more time together.
News of Fisher's trade shocked the Ottawa community and fans never got a chance to say goodbye or thank you as Fisher was traded while the Senators were on the road.
There's little doubt that Thursday will be a warm homecoming for the 31-year-old as Fisher was one of the most popular players in franchise history.
Fisher played 675 games for the Senators, was an active member of the community and donated countless hours to local charities. His impact was long-reaching and despite his absence not forgotten.
"I'm excited, but a little nervous at the same time," said Fisher. "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 admits there will be some strangeness to the situation as he'll be in the visitors dressing room and sitting on the visitor's bench.
"For so many years I was on the other side and I'm sure that just walking into that visitors room will be strange," admitted Fisher. "Once the game gets started I'm sure it will be fine."
The return will also be special for Fisher's former teammates, who admit they still miss having #12 around.
"Me personally I wish he was still here because we went through a lot together," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson.
While Alfredsson understood the trade as a business move for the franchise, he admits it didn't make it any easier to lose a character player and man such as Fisher.
"I think everybody knew what Fish brought on and off the ice," said Alfredsson. "He's a guy that embraces the community and helps people any way he can."
During the All-Star game in Ottawa Alfredsson spoke with Nashville's Shea Weber to get a little insight as to how Fisher is viewed in Nashville and as expected Fisher is as beloved there as he was here.
For Ottawa's Nick Foligno, Fisher was more than just a teammate and friend. He was a mentor, a sounding board and a pillar of strength.
"He was a guy who kind of took me under his wing," said Foligno. "He helped me out and helped me learn the ropes, he's a big friend. I definitely missed him after the trade."
Fisher offered a wealth of support as Foligno's mother battled cancer and even more so after her death. The two wore patches sewn inside their hockey pants in memory of Janis Foligno and her courageous battle with breast cancer.
Foligno anticipates fans will give Fisher a warm welcome in his return.
"He's such a genuine guy and really got involved and I think the fans really appreciated everything he did," said Foligno. "I think everyone was so proud that he got so involved in the community and in this locker room. He was a big leader in this room."
Jason Spezza says it will be nice for Fisher to make his return, but at the same time the Senators will be looking to play their best.
"You always kind of compete a little harder, a little differently when you're facing someone that you played with for such a long time. It's fun to compete with those guys."