The people’s choice is staying in a Senators uniform for another five seasons.
There were smiles aplenty around Scotiabank Place on Monday morning after the club announced fan favourite Mike Fisher had inked a multi-year extension to continue his NHL career in the nation’s capital.
Fisher, one of the Sens’ heart-and-soul players, could have opted to test the free-agent market next summer. But instead, he made a major statement about his feelings toward the franchise, the city and its fans with a commitment to being a key part of its future.
|Senators general manager Bryan Murray (right) talks to the media about the signing of centre Mike Fisher to a new five-year contract. |
“I just love playing here,” said Fisher, 27, a seven-year Senators veteran. “The organization is one of the best in the league, and you hear that from guys coming in and guys leaving, that a lot of people want to play here. I count myself as being very fortunate play here and I’m very thrilled that we came to this agreement.”
Senators general manager Bryan Murray was equally happy about getting Fisher’s name on a new contract, calling it “a great day for us.”
“I think he’s a real cornerstone guy for (the team),” said Murray. “We think he will be a very good player for us and keep our team competitive for the term of his contract, at least. I feel very strongly that it’s a real important day for the franchise.
“Obviously, Mike wanted to be in Ottawa, and that’s a great message to (send to) us and our fans. I’m real pleased we were able to do it.”
No doubt the news that Fisher will wear the Senators colours for the foreseeable future will be a big hit with the team’s fans, who recently named him their favourite player for the second straight year. Some 30.69 per cent of 6,594 fans who voted in an ottawasenators.com poll made it clear again that Fisher is the people’s choice.
It’s a testament to the hard-working style of a player who was a finalist for the Frank Selke Award in 2005-06 and was selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s Ottawa chapter as the Senators’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Award in 2003-04.
In 20 games during the Senators’ run to the Stanley Cup final last spring, Fisher ranked second in the NHL with 73 hits.
“Bryan’s put a real emphasis on character people,” said Senators head coach John Paddock. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that he would get (a new contract) done.
“Most people think that, in losing to Anaheim (in the Stanley Cup final) and in losing to Buffalo the year before, Fish was our best player in those tough series.
“He’s a cornerstone of the franchise.”
Fisher, the 44th overall selection in the 1998 entry draft, also happens to be coming off a season in which he produced career highs in points (48) and assists (26) and matched his career high in goals (22).
Now, with a new deal in place, Fisher can focus on even bigger things in 2007-08.
“I’m glad I could get it done at this point,” he said. “I want to be here and I want to show the team that this is where I where I want to play. I’m very happy with the contract and with being here for another five years.”