Mike Fisher hasn’t scored a single goal during the playoffs. The Nashville Predators’ center hasn’t even recorded an assist. Yet, the team is two games away from its first Stanley Cup finals appearance largely thanks to Fisher.
The Preds fell to Anaheim on Thursday night, ending their 10-game home playoff winning streak. The Western Conference finals now sit level at 2-2. But Nashville is on an incredible run. As the lowest-seeded squad in the west, it swept top-seeded Chicago in the first round. Then the Predators took out St. Louis in six games to advance to the franchise’s first conference final.
Ryan Johansen deserves much credit, with his three playoff goals and 10 assists. Filip Forsberg too, with six goals and five assists. But earlier this week, numerous teammates showered Fisher with praise for leading the team into unchartered territory.
“He’s done a tremendous job keeping this group together and keeping it motivated and focused,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm told NHL.com. “I just think he is a great captain.”
“He’s a guy that does everything right on and off the ice,” forward Vernon Fiddler said. “He’s just a fearless leader that does everything possible. He blocks shots, he’ll fight, he scores, he hits. He’s a guy that plays at the end of games. He is not the most vocal guy but he just leads by his actions.”
“He’s one of the best people I have ever met in my life,” forward Craig Smith said. “The selflessness, putting others first, has been extremely evident over the last couple of years. The way he talks, the way he treats people, I don’t think he has ever put himself in front of anybody ever.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette offered mighty compliments as well.
“Mike’s the type of guy you would want your kids growing up and following and watching what he says and what he does and how he deals with people in life, his work ethic, his habits, his practice habits,” Laviolette said. “He’s a good example. He’s a good example every single day, whether he is on the ice or off the ice.”
That’s evidence of a life modeled after Jesus. Fisher is clearly living out the verse he features in his social media profiles: John 3:30 – “He must become greater, I must become less.” Job well done.
Fisher and the Predators return to action with Game 5 on Saturday night in Anaheim. A win there and they can clinch a Stanley Cup finals berth with another home win Monday night.
Should the Preds reach the biggest stage in hockey, Fisher’s wife might have to make another appearance. He’s married to superstar Carrie Underwood.
Underwood has been among some of Music City’s finest to perform the national anthem before home playoff games. Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill and Kelly Clarkson have also taken their turns.