Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher has retired from the NHL after 17 season. Joe Rexrode and Dave Ammenheuser discuss what this means for the team.
Autumn Allison / USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
This is a great and well-deserved week for Mike Fisher, finishing a successful hockey career on his terms. It’s a bad week for his former team.
The Nashville Predators will remember the good times with Fisher, who is retiring at age 37 after six-plus seasons with them and 17 in the NHL, as they should. And when they get back to business with training camp starting next month – next month! – they will do so with a reduced chance of returning to the Stanley Cup Final.
This isn’t a deal breaker, just as Fisher returning would have guaranteed nothing. But when you lose your captain, a center who set the tone with his grit on the ice, who scored 42 points last season, who got it done on the power play and the penalty kill, who had four points and your team’s most spectacular play in the Stanley Cup Final, who was universally heeded and respected in your locker room, then yes, it’s going to hurt.
That’s why GM David Poile made it clear so many times in public that he wanted Fisher back. He signed Nick Bonino, who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins outlast the Predators for the Stanley Cup, to be his No. 2 center. So Nashville’s center depth still looks fine.
But it would have been big to get Fisher for another year, manning the third or fourth line and taking some pressure off Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Cup Final surprise extraordinaire Frederick Gaudreau. It would have been big to have his intelligence, instincts and willingness to mix it up in front of the net.
It would have prevented Poile and coach Peter Laviolette from having to choose a new captain for the second time in two summers. And while there are good candidates – give me Ryan Ellis in the media pool – and no reason to think the locker room will suffer, it will change some.
As we saw last fall, an adjustment period there can manifest itself on the ice. I think Fisher’s growing comfort…