|Centre Mike Fisher is sad to be leaving Ottawa and the Sens but is enthused about his new hockey home in Nashville, where his wife, country music star Carrie Underwood, is based (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
With one bold decision, the Ottawa Senators have signalled the beginning of their march into a new future.
The Senators announced earlier today they've dealt veteran centre Mike Fisher to the Nashville Predators for a first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and a third-rounder in 2012. The latter selection is conditional and can become a second-round pick.
With the trade, Ottawa now owns a pair of first-round choices in the 2011 draft set for June 24-25 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Their own pick, as things now stand, will be a top-five selection.
In dealing Fisher, the Senators moved an 11-year veteran with 675 games of National Hockey League experience, all of it with the team that made him a second-round selection (44th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He was an integral part of the team that reached the Stanley Cup final in 2006-07 and built close ties to the capital with his tireless community work.
"It's very hard, for sure," Fisher said shortly after being informed of the deal to the Predators. "It's a bit of a shock and I'm still trying to process everything. I don't know if it's really set in yet. I wish I could have done more here and been a part of everything here, but it wasn't meant to be."
Fisher leaves his only NHL home with nothing but fond memories.
"I have so many things to be thankful for (about) playing in Ottawa," he said. "It's been a great ride and the fans have been great. The organization has been first class, the players I've played with ...I played with so many great players and people. The hard part is the good-byes to people. That's what it's all about. Yeah, it's tough."
That being said, Fisher is enthused that his next hockey destination is Nashville, the city where his country music superstar wife, Carrie Underwood, is based.
"I'm excited about that," he said. "If there is a place I was to go (in a trade), it would be there. I'm excited about being a part of that team. They're a very good team and it'll be kind of like going home for me. I'm sure my wife won't be disappointed, either. I think it's a great place for me and my family."
The fan favourite offered up one final message to his many supporters in Ottawa.
"Thanks for 11 great years and I wish I could have done more," he said. "For me, it was so many great memories that I'll never forget. Thank you so much."