Each of the last two ‘Skate of the Union’ events featured a surprise of some sort. In 2010 it was the announcement of Shea Weber being the Predators’ next captain. Last summer it was the unveiling of the team’s new gold jerseys.
So on Monday, the Predators decided to reveal another surprise in front of their fans. The announcement was a two-year, $8.4 million extension for center Mike Fisher.
“Signing Mike Fisher is a big plus as we move forward to keeping our team intact,” GM David Poile said at Monday’s ‘Skate of the Union’ Town Hall Meeting. “He’s a great veteran player and now an assistant captain. He won the NHL Foundation award for community service – I think that speaks well of Mike not only as a hockey player but more importantly as a human being.”
The two-year extension is something Fisher wanted to get done before the season started.
“I love being here. It’s been a great year and a half for me. I love the city. It’s just a perfect situation for me,” he said just hours before the deal was officially announced. “Family and lifestyle are obviously most important. It is for a lot of guys, but we both would want something (a contract) that’s fair.”
Fisher has been everything Predators management hope he would be when they acquired him in February of 2011 from Ottawa.
Some expected Fisher to be a good fit simply because of his wife, country music star Carrie Underwood. But he’s fit in just fine on the ice as well, racking up 63 points in 99 regular season games with Nashville as his two-way game has fit like a glove in Barry Trotz’s system. On top of that, Fisher has turned into a valuable marketing chip for the Predators’ front office.
The Predators expect Fisher to be an important piece to the puzzle for the next three seasons. For most of last season he was the team’s top-line center and is slated to be in the same spot heading into training camp.
Fisher expects the Predators, who finished with 104 points in 2011-12, to continue their winning ways this upcoming season despite the personnel losses of Ryan Suter and Alexander Radulov.
“There’s been a lot going on; I think it’s been a great summer,” said Fisher. “We’ve always been about team here and everyone being in. We don’t feel like one player is really going to affect us that much.
“We had a good year last year. As a group we feel like we’re real close. You look at Los Angeles and how they won, they got hot and were unstoppable. We feel like we can be that team [this] year.”