Center Mike Fisher
and defenseman Francis Bouillon
will make their season debuts on Tuesday for the struggling Nashville Predators
when they host the San Jose Sharks
at Bridgestone Arena.
Both players have missed the first seven games of the season, as the Preds have gone 1-2-1 since winning their first two games. Nashville is coming off a three-game Western Canadian road trip in which it scored four goals.
Fisher, who was acquired in February from Ottawa for a couple of high-round draft picks, underwent a procedure on his shoulder during the offseason. He had 3 goals and 4 assists in 12 playoff games and 5 goals and 12 assists in 27 games during the regular season after coming over the from the Senators, as Nashville's management credited his performance with helping to get the team into the postseason.
He has been skating since August but was only recently cleared for contact. Nashville coach Barry Trotz
said that Fisher would skate on a line with rookie Craig Smith
, who also plays center, and that Smith would take some of the faceoffs to take pressure off Fisher.
"I'm feeling good and cleared to play, pretty excited," Fisher said. "It's been a long time. Yeah, it's good to be back …
I feel, conditioning-wise, ready and strong and should be good to go."
Bouillon has been sidelined much longer with a concussion. He last played on Jan. 16 at Chicago, missing the final 44 games of the regular season and all of the playoffs. He is likely to start out on Nashville's third defense pair with either Jack Hillen
or Teemu Laakso
"I don't want to start talking today about what's going to happen if I get hit and stuff like that, I just got to put them (negative thoughts) aside and to play my game," Bouillon said.
Trotz said the players should give Nashville, one of the League's youngest teams, a "comfort feeling" in the locker room.
"We could use their experience because we are young and a little bit fragile right now, so hopefully they'll be stabilizing factors," Trotz said.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan
did not disclose any lineup changes prior to the game.