Reflecting back on Mike Fisher’s top five moments with the Predators

Mike Fisher, who retired Thursday after 17 seasons in the NHL, had been with the Predators since 2011.
AP/Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Although he was only the captain of the Predators for one season, Mike Fisher’s impact can be felt on and off the ice. A kind and caring individual outside the rink, iron-fisted and highly-competitive on it, Fisher will no doubt leave a sizable hole in Nashville’s locker room — especially in terms of class and leadership.

With his announced retirement as of Thursday morning, it’s time we take a look back at his top five moments in a Predators sweater.

5. Don’t poke the bear

Late in the third period on Jan. 10, 2015, with the Predators leading 3-1, Wild defenseman Nate Prosser garnered the ire of Fisher and decided right then would be the time to try and exact some retribution on the Nashville center.

What followed was a thorough — and embarrassing — beatdown. Coming from the fists of Fisher.

There haven’t been very many Predators players who I’ve routinely thought that opposing skaters should stay away from when trying to drop the gloves, but Fisher is definitely one of them. He has an edge to his game that will be sorely missed in Nashville, but at the same time a nasty side that can be drawn out if you’re brave enough.

Prosser learned firsthand just how tough Mike Fisher really is.

4. One thousand reasons why

Stepping on the ice for your first game in the NHL is a very memorable experience. You’re a rookie who has climbed the ranks through the various minor leagues all your life to this one moment.

Nine hundred and ninety nine games later, you’re a seasoned veteran and amidst a group of 300-plus elite ironmen who’ve gutted out over 1,000 games in their NHL careers. It’s not a small accomplishment in the least and one the league, and it’s clubs, take very seriously.

March 3rd of the 2016 season, Fisher played in the 1,000th game of his career — a 5-4 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Nashville celebrated that feat 18 days later and showered him with gifts: the normal silver stick, a photo collage, a commemorative crystal and a gift that his teammates personally picked out for him. He would also be honored again by the Ottawa Senators, the team that drafted him, eight months later.

Fisher would add another 88 games and currently stands tied with Alex Tanguay for 198th overall in NHL history for most games played at 1,088.

3. The tooth is in the details

It’s fun to say this again, but Fisher is not someone you want to mess with on the ice. Just like Kevin Klein or Shea Weber from years past, Fisher has a mean couple of hooks in his repertoire.

While we’ve already cataloged Nate Prosser’s experience with this, let’s talk about Kevin Bieksa.

Bieksa’s fight with Fisher early in the 2015-16 season seemed like just an ordinary bout, one that both players handled quite well. Upon closer investigation however, Bieksa lost something that most would definitely have a problem with losing: a tooth.

Fisher ended up connecting with a straight left jab to the face of Bieksa, knocking out one of his teeth in the process. Just another reason why Fisher is going to be missed in Nashville.

2. A desperation pass

Down 2-1 in this past summer’s Stanley Cup Final against the Penguins and clinging to a 2-1 lead midway through the second period of Game 4, the Predators needed another catalyst to hopefully extend their lead and tie the series heading back to Pittsburgh.

Fisher’s always been a player to go the extra mile when on the ice, something that’s spread like a virus throughout the roster since he’s been a member of the team.

As defenseman Roman Josi attempted to clear the puck from the defensive zone, James Neal would somehow get the puck poked out, but right to Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. Fisher, who was skating out of the zone, caught up to Malkin and got a piece of the puck. In the process, however, Fisher lost his footing and started falling towards the ice.

Seconds later, Viktor Arvidsson netted a sweet wrister past Matt Martin to make the score 3-1.

Prefacing the goal was one of the more brilliant, and fortunate, passes that I’ve ever seen. It’s something that will easily remain one of the greatest plays in Predators history.

1. The Longest Game

When you’re watching a hockey game at 1:00am early on a Friday, it’s either a sign that you’re simulating too many games on the latest version of NHL on your gaming console or it’s a lengthy playoff overtime game that has no signs of ending.

Luckily the latter was the case in this instance.

Watching Game 4 of the 2016 Western Conference semifinals between Nashville and San Jose, there was an feeling of uneasiness blanketing the weary fans inside Bridgestone Arena. As the first and second overtime period passed by, including a close scare that could have given the Sharks a 3-1 stranglehold lead in the series, Predators fans knew that a hero was going to need to emerge in miraculous fashion for Nashville to stand a chance of winning the series.

In the blink of an eye, exhaustion turned to jubilation for the fans who stayed to watch this epic.

What started as a completely innocuous play in San Jose’s end turned into a comedy of bounces favoring the Predators with the game-winning puck ending up on Fisher’s stick as he skated towards the crease. It’s the only time Nashville has played and won an overtime playoff game eclipsing more than two overtime periods. It won’t be the last, but it’s most certainly the most memorable Mike Fisher moment in his career with the Predators.