Mike Fisher can easily be considered a wily veteran, after all he is entering his 17th season in the NHL, but even after all these years he still gets excited for opening night.
The Nashville Predators host the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night and Fisher admits he may be more even more excited than in years past.
At 35 Fisher realizes he is in the twilight of his career and acknowledges that he’s unsure how many more season openers he’ll be a part of.
Fisher signed a two-year contract extension this past summer, but says after that who knows? With that in mind he says you can’t help but appreciated the small things a bit more.
“I still love the game,” said Fisher. “It’s different as you get older. You’re trying to enjoy the fact you’re still playing the game and really appreciate what it brings.”
Fisher says at this point his age doesn’t seem to be a factor, if anything he feels great.
Last season Fisher finished the year with 39 points in 59 games and was easily the Predators best two-way forwards, despite missing the start of the season due to a ruptured Achilles suffered during off-season training.
Fisher says he worked hard this summer and his body feels good. In addition the excitement around the city surrounding the Predators is infectious to players as well.
“Nashville is one of the good stories in the NHL,” said Fisher. “Fans have embraced the team and are now packing the arena. Once people get to see the game live they get hooked.”
Fisher acknowledges it was different going from a hockey-mad city like Ottawa to Nashville after being traded in 2011. When he first arrived in Nashville he could go out to dinner or the grocery store without ever being recognized, but now that hockey has become more popular fans are starting to recognize players out in public.
“There’s a little more recognition now, but it’s great. Everyone is so friendly.”
This upcoming season Fisher could join an elite group of players as he is poised to play his 1,000th NHL game.
While the milestone would be special, Fisher says it would be even better if the Predators were to make a long playoff run.