PITTSBURGH - A surprise name entered the fray to potentially sing the national anthem when the Stanley Cup Final travels to Nashville for Game 3 on Saturday: Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher.
The Predators have become famous for having country stars sing the national anthem before each game in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood, Fisher's wife, are among the stars who have performed during the first three rounds.
More stars are expected this round in Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday and Game 6, if necessary, on June 11, at Bridgestone Arena. But if the superstar pipeline dries up, it appears Fisher would be the Predators player most able to step in as a pinch-singer, according to an informal poll of his teammates on Sunday at the 2017 Stanley Cup Final Media Day at PPG Paints Arena, site of Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"[Fisher], that guy can sing," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "He can kill it."
Defenseman Yannick Weber said, "Mike Fisher; he's got a lot of help from home. He's got a great voice. You underestimate him. His wife is a good singer, but he can go too. He must be the best one on the team."
So, what does Fisher think about all this praise for his singing pipes?
"I guess I'd be average, maybe," Fisher said. "I've got a tough critic at home. She doesn't make me sound too good."
In fact, if Fisher had his way, nobody but his wife will sing the anthem for the remaining playoff home games.
"I would like to see her [Carrie] do every game, to be honest," he said. "She's 1-0."
Underwood sang before Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators won 3-2 in overtime on their way to a sweep of the West's top seed.
Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Carrie Underwood sings national anthem
There were some legitimate requests for future anthem singers from the Predators who were polled Sunday.
Ellis mentioned Garth Brooks, the country legend. Weber pointed out that Justin Timberlake lives in Nashville and would be a good fit, as would Taylor Swift. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm plugged his favorite country band, Florida Georgia Line.
But most of the Predators were having more fun nominating their teammates for emergency anthem duty.
Defenseman P.K. Subban, who did a karaoke version of "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash at a honkytonk upon his arrival in Nashville last summer, earned three votes.
"He's got a decent voice from what I have heard so far," Ekholm said. "I think he is one of the guys that can sing. P.K. can just be him and get away with doing it."
Forward Craig Smith also received multiple votes. Forward Miikka Salomaki received a vote, along with forward Harry Zolnierczyk.
"I could maybe go up and sling it if need be," Zolnierczyk said.