Don’t call it a comeback. On second thought, that’s exactly what it is. Former Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher announced on Wednesday that he is coming out of retirement to join the Preds for another shot at a Stanley Cup.
Fisher skated at Bridgestone Arena Wednesday morning for the first time since leaving the team and the game he loves behind last season. Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that the plan is for Fisher to sign a contract before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
“There’s no real time table,” Fisher said at Wednesday’s press conference. “I’m going to see how I feel and skate on my own a bit. I know it’s going to take me a little time to get back into game shape”
“He made the decision,” Predators general manager Poile added. “He has the fire and the will to comeback. Every time he sets a challenge for himself, he gets it done.”
After falling just two wins shy of winning a Stanley Cup last year, Fisher stated that he believes this year could finally be the year Nashville can win it all.
“I believe this team is built to win,” he said. “That’s part of the reason I want to come back. We didn’t win last year and that was the best part of my career. I feel like this year could be the year.”
Poile announced that there will be no changes to the leadership group; Roman Josi will remain the captain. Fisher said he doesn’t expect anything to change in the locker room just because a former captain is coming back.
Both Poile and Josi contacted Fisher, who said he decided over the weekend to definitely return to the Preds, about the possibility of returning. The 37-year-old said he didn’t really give much thought to it until a few weeks ago – including shooting down the opportunity months ago.
He even joked about never imagining himself coming out of retirement for a playoff push, but here he is.
“It always kind of bugged me when guys came out of retirement,” Fisher said. “I thought I was done and it was the right decision at the time. The more I thought about it, I just thought about the opportunity and how good this team is.”
Fisher said his wife, country music superstar Carrie Underwood, encouraged his return.
“Carrie asked me every few days if I was going to do it,” he said. “She wanted me to do it. And she’s usually right.”
Uncertain of what his role will be, Fisher declared he was back to help the team in whatever role they need. With the release of Cody McLeod, Fisher will inject some grittiness and toughness back into the Predators lineup.
He adds even more depth to the Predators center group, which already includes Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino and Colton Sissons. His return allows for more lineup possibilities for coach Peter Laviolette, who can move Bonino or Sissons out on the wing, similar to what has been done with Calle Jarnkork.
“There’s not a guy down there right now who doesn’t have a smile on his face because Mike’s going to come back,” Laviolette added.