|Senators centre Mike Fisher listens to a question as he talks with the media during a break from his hockey camp at the Ray Friel Centre in Orleans (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club).
Mike Fisher's face broke into a broad grin as the conversation veered into much more comfortable territory.
"Thank you!" the Ottawa Senators centre exclaimed when a reporter asked about his goals for the coming National Hockey League season.
But Fisher knows full well his life changed immeasureably on July 10, when he married country music superstar Carrie Underwood in a posh ceremony held at a private resort in Georgia. By many accounts, it was the celebrity wedding of the summer, with news of the nuptials splashed across the front cover of People
So needless to say, when Fisher took a break from his annual hockey camp earlier today at the Ray Friel Centre in Orleans to meet with the media, he knew the large crowd wasn't on hand just to talk hockey.
"It is what it is," Fisher said about the celebrity world he's now stepped into. "(Underwood) is used to it, but it's a little different for me, learning to deal with it. But it's part of life now, I guess."
Perhaps the toughest part, though, is the long-distance relationship that awaits them. Underwood, who's heading back out on tour this weekend, remains based in Nashville — the home of country music — while Fisher continues to pursue his hockey dreams in Ottawa. While he joked that "the airport will be the main residence," Fisher made it clear he plans to be a Senator for as long as the team wants him.
"I want to stay here my whole career, if possible. It won’t be just up to me — it’ll be up to the team after my contract (expires in 2013). We’re both comfortable here and home is where we are, so let’s make this home. It feels like home (to me). I’ve been here so long and in Ottawa, you get a bit of everything. The fans are great and I’m still close to home. I have a lot of friends here and family, and I've played with a lot of players here a long time." - Mike Fisher
"I love it here in Ottawa," said Fisher, 30, who's about to enter his 11th season in a Senators uniform. "She likes it and she knows how much I like it. I want to stay here my whole career, if possible. It won’t be just up to me — it’ll be up to the team after my contract (expires in 2013). We’re both comfortable here and home is where we are, so let’s make this home."
"It feels like home (to me)," added the Peterborough native. "I’ve been here so long and in Ottawa, you get a bit of everything. The fans are great and I’m still close to home. I have a lot of friends here and family, and I've played with a lot of players here a long time. I live 10 minutes from the rink and after practice, I can hunt and fish and do all those things. There’s not too many cities you can do all that, so I’m pretty blessed."
Fisher admitted he's also enthused about the prospects of the season ahead, especially with the free-agent addition of defenceman Sergei Gonchar
to the lineup.
"I'm excited," he said. "Our team now, with (Gonchar) and what he can do on the power play and puckhandling and getting the forwards the puck, (and with) a lot of young guys coming up that are going to push for spots … we lost a few guys, but I think we’re going to be a better team. We’re all excited about that and building on some of the progress we made last year."Around the boardsPeter Regin
's arbitration hearing is set for Friday and, as things now stand, it isn't likely the Senators will come to terms on a new contract with the Danish centre before then. "We've been talking to both Peter and Chris Campoli's people. Not much has happened," said Senators general manager Bryan Murray. "As of this minute, it appears we're going to the hearing." The arbitration hearing for Campoli, also a restricted free agent, is set for Wednesday ... Murray said he hopes to sign off on a new coach for the Binghamton Senators "within a week. We've been talking to a couple of individuals now and I suspect it won't be that far down the road."