Sure, it’s a trip to Toronto to face the Senators’ provincial rivals.
But Mike Fisher is saving himself for the moment when the Battle of Ontario resumes for real again.
While the Senators centre skated Monday morning with the players who’ll suit up at the Air Canada Centre tonight (7:30 p.m. Team 1200), Fisher indicated afterward that he’ll still be a spectator for a few more days yet.
“The last couple of days felt pretty good,” said Fisher, 27, who’s still working his way back from a groin injury he suffered during the Stanley Cup final in June against the Anaheim Ducks. “I just took Saturday off for a little bit of rest and felt pretty good. I’ve just got to see the doctor this week and hopefully get a game in before we start (the regular season).”
“It’s taken some time because it’s an injury that happened awhile ago. You can’t rush it just to get into games. It has to be good all year, so I’m just being smart about it and getting back into it as quickly as possible.”
Fisher made it clear the Oct. 3 season opener in Toronto, and the rematch between the teams the following night in the Senators’ home opener, are the games that remain foremost in his mind.
“It’d definitely be nice to get in an exhibition game, but it’s not really a priority,” said Fisher. “Just being ready for game one, that’s what really counts. That’s what I’m gearing toward. For three days now, it’s been going in the right direction. I feel pretty good.”
Senators head coach John Paddock still believes he might see Fisher in the lineup on the weekend, when Ottawa plays its final two exhibition games.
“I talked to him on the ice,” said Paddock. “He said it was sore one day, but it’s fine today. I expect he’ll be playing on the weekend.”
There’s still a chance Senators fans might not have to wait much longer to see starting goaltender Ray Emery in game action. Emery took part in a full practice with non-game players this morning, and sounded positive about his progress afterward. He’s been on the mend since off-season wrist surgery.
“It’s feeling better and better,” said Emery. “It’s getting to a point where it’s strong, but I’m cautious with it … I’m not sure yet, but there’s a possibility I’ll be playing (Tuesday night vs. the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place)."
Martin Gerber makes his fourth straight pre-season start tonight. Paddock indicated the Swiss goaltender will play the full 60 minutes against the Leafs.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson
, who’s feeling “under the weather,” will sit out tonight. So, too, will blueliner Wade Redden, who didn’t practice this morning after leaving a Sunday workout with back spasms.
“It’s tight today again, but it felt better than yesterday,” said Redden, who declared himself “questionable” for Tuesday’s game against the Flyers. “Just getting off the ice a bit and healing it and getting everything stretched out is probably what it needed."
Some 1,750 tickets remain for Tuesday night's game vs. the Flyers. There are 1,000 still left for Saturday's visit by the Montreal Canadiens.