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Fisher gets an 'A' for effort

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Mike Fisher, shown at practice Friday at the Bell Sensplex, says he'll be the same player on the ice for the Ottawa Senators, even with a letter now stitched to his jersey.

When he hits the ice at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Mike Fisher will do so with an extra letter stitched on the front of his jersey.

But he'll be the same hard-working guy fans have taken to their hearts during the nine previous seasons he's worn Ottawa Senators colours.

Senators head coach Cory Clouston added the 29-year-old Fisher to his official leadership group earlier today, awarding him the alternate captain's "A" that became available when Dany Heatley was traded to the San Jose Sharks last month.

Veteran defenceman Chris Phillips will wear an "A" for the fourth straight season, while Daniel Alfredsson begins his 10th year with the "C" on his chest. Now it's Fisher's turn to join that important trio.

"We have a few guys who could have filled that position, but Mike has been a candidate for that for a while," said Alfredsson. "He’s a great, great guy that’s respected within the room. He brings a lot of character and he’s definitely one of the best team guys you can have."

Clouston is also convinced he's found the right man for the job.

"(Fisher) is a very good leader," said Clouston. "I think he brings what we're looking for ... work ethic, commitment, he's a team-first guy. He does a lot of little things well."

For his part, Fisher called it "definitely an honour" to be named an alternate captain.

"He’s a great, great guy that’s respected within the room. He brings a lot of character and he’s definitely one of the best team guys you can have." - Daniel Alfredsson
"I've worn (the "A") a little bit in the past," he said. "It's not going to change my role a whole lot. I'm going to continue to lead by example in lots of different ways, on and off the ice."

Both Fisher and Clouston suggested the leadership role has to go beyond the three captains if the Senators are to enjoy a successful 2009-10 season.

"We have lots of guys in our room who've played lots of games and have lots of experience who could wear (a letter) at any time," said Fisher. "We need a group of more than the three (players) that wear letters to make it a strong leadership group."

Added Clouston: "Often, when we're having a meeting, we don't just have the three guys wearing the letters (involved). We bring in one or two other guys, depending on what we're talking abut. We want to make sure everybody is on board and understanding the message we're trying to send out."

Thrashers claim Schubert off waivers

Christoph Schubert was claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers on re-entry waivers at noon today, officially ending his seven-year run with the Senators organization. The two teams will split the cost of paying the final year of Schubert's contract in 2009-10.

The 27-year-old Munich native had been assigned to the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators after clearing NHL waivers on Wednesday. But Murray chose to explore the re-entry option on Thursday, partly to save some money against Ottawa's salary cap and also to give Schubert the opportunity to possibly catch on with another NHL team.

"Schubie's been a pretty good guy to me," said Murray. "I spent the last two days talking to him quite a bit and I said if there's a chance for you to go somewhere, I very definitely will make that option available to you and that's what I did.

"Now he gets a chance to play somewhere (in the NHL)."

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